This mural was painted by Archie Musick in 1942 and financed by the Treasury Department’s Section of Fine Arts (AKA: The Section) program that funded art works for Federal buildings. This mural, in the Manitou Springs Post Office, depicts the Manitou Springs area’s native peoples, explorers, and early settlers. The mural’s original design, illustrating the legend of the springs’ origin, included a smaller frieze but Musick was asked to expand that to fill the entire mural. The technique the artist developed for this mural became his signature technique throughout his later career. The goal of The Section was to decorate new federal buildings with work of the highest quality. This was not a relief program. Artists were selected to work for The Section through regional and national competitions.
Archie recalls that he created his mural using “…99% dry, powdered Venetian red briskly applied with a rag and followed by the same treatment with powdered graphite. This produced a pleasing stone-line surface which could be lightened with sand paper or darkened in the shadows with oil glaze. I found the surface could be further embellished by scratching designs with a stylus, exposing white lines. I used oil glazes of blues and greens to break the monotony of color.” See photos below for mural details. (Source: “Musick Medley: Intimate Memories of a Rocky Mountain Art Colony” by Archie Musick, conversation with Archie’s daughter Pat Musick and “History of the New Deal Art Pr
Manitou Springs, CO, 80829
Medium type: Paint (acrylic, oil, etc.)
Date created: 1942