Perched on a red scissor lift on the corner of 32nd Street and Main Avenue, Durango artist Hannah Wilson blends vibrant purple, green and orange paint into a scene of mountain ranges, beer taps and flora.
The mural, which commemorates the success and longevity Durango’s brewing industry, is being painted on the north wall of Mac’s Liquor.
“We hope it does a lot to help enhance the Durango brewery scene and bring more people to (town) to visit our amazing breweries and take a moment to appreciate their role in making Durango (a) unique, great place to live,” Turner Wyatt, a friend of Wilson, said.
While Wilson has completed several murals in her home state of Iowa, she said painting one in Durango has been on her bucket list since she moved to town in 2017. Mac’s Liquor seemed like a perfect candidate.
“I live north of town and drove by the wall every day,” she said. “I always thought how cool it would be to have a mural there.”
In January, Wilson approached Mac’s Liquor owner Tina Haefele with her design for the mural. At the time, Haefele was considering several artists and designs.
“But I really liked Hannah’s drawing,” Haefele said. “She had that one. It’s the one that caught my eye.”
With Haefele on board, Wilson and Wyatt applied for a grant from the lodgers tax fund. In March, Wilson was awarded the $8,500 grant with an additional combined contribution from local breweries Animas, Anarchy, Carvers, Steamworks and Ska of about $2,000.
“That covers the total cost for supplies, design, the lift, the power wash, everything,” Wilson said.
Four months later, after working with the city of Durango and Haefele to finalize a design and sort out details painting around the Mac’s Liquor logo, Wilson was ready to start painting.
“It's been a six-month process, but we think it's worth it because it's a super high visibility mural,” Wyatt said. “There's going to be over a million cars that pass that pass it every year.”
The final design features the Mac’s Liquor logo embedded in a purple mountain range. Four beer taps, which pour flowers and other fauna, have the words “Welcome to the brewing Capitol of the Southwest” painted down them.
“It’s an unofficial title, but we’re claiming it,” Wyatt said.
Wilson estimates the mural will take 75 hours to complete. She said she’s excited to create an instillation in the town she fell in love with over half a decade ago.
“I feel like I’m doing my life’s work. Like I feel really drawn to creating for a living and the more I do it, the more opportunities and doors keep opening up,” she said. “I just feel like what I’m supposed to be doing. Truly what I’m grateful for and it’s an honor and a blessing.”