Silver linings playbook

DU alumni find resilience—and even hope—in the midst of a pandemic

THE ARTIST: Austin Zucchini Fowler (attd. 2007­­–11)

Austin Zucchini Fowler created some of the most visible tributes to those fighting the coronavirus pandemic. The artist and DU Hilltoppers swim coach spray-painted a series of large-scale murals on building walls throughout downtown Denver featuring teachers, health care workers, first responders and others on the front lines.

“The first responder piece is particularly meaningful to me because my oldest brother is not only a doctor, but he’s also in the U.S. Army,” says Fowler, who took classes at DU’s School of Art and Art History. “The piece represents some of the cool stuff that he’s done over the past couple of years.”

Fowler created his first mural — a nurse with wings and boxing gloves — in April on a blank wall on East Colfax Avenue. The response took him by surprise.

“I was getting the most incredible emails from health care workers,” he says. “The coolest thing they were giving me feedback on was that it boosted morale in the hospital. It was something to talk about, something to visit. A lot of them would go and take pictures in front of it — and they felt empowered. They were so grateful for the message.”

Encouraged by the feedback — and the business owners who began reaching out and asking him to create similar artwork on their walls — Fowler decided to create a series of murals to express the gratitude of an entire city.

“I love the community aspect of public work. I wanted the thank you and gratitude not just to come from me, but from the community,” he says. “I’m not the only one who is feeling grateful right now. It was cool to send a message that a lot of people are feeling and represent the community as a whole in that way.”

1 COMMENT

  1. I do not know if it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else encountering issues with your website.
    It looks like some of the written text in your content are
    running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too?
    This may be a issue with my browser because I’ve had this happen before.
    Cheers

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More stories

Speaking out and speaking up

As I write this, I can’t help but think and feel deeply about all of the turmoil and uncertainty we’re enduring as...

1Day4DU raises over $450,000 in sixth year

Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its human and economic impacts, the University of Denver global network of alumni, students, faculty, staff, parents,...

Crimson Scholarship offers reduced master’s degrees to 2020 grads

A new scholarship will allow DU undergraduates who graduated in June to attend graduate school at the University at a reduced cost.

More stories

Speaking out and speaking up

As I write this, I can’t help but think and feel deeply about all of the turmoil and uncertainty we’re enduring as...

Freedom Delayed

With Chancellor Jeremy Haefner designating June 19 — better known as Juneteenth — an official paid holiday, the University of Denver Magazine...

A day for reflection, learning and action

Look for it in the history books, where you’ll spot it toward the end of the chapter on the U.S. Civil War.

1Day4DU raises over $450,000 in sixth year

Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its human and economic impacts, the University of Denver global network of alumni, students, faculty, staff, parents,...

Crimson Scholarship offers reduced master’s degrees to 2020 grads

A new scholarship will allow DU undergraduates who graduated in June to attend graduate school at the University at a reduced cost.