‘Running Thunder’ is the newest mural of Monte Vista’s beatification project

Photo by Marie Mccolm Cheryl Morris painted the ‘Running Thunder’ mural that is on the side of the Stars and Stripes bowling alley in Monte Vista.

MONTE VISTA — As the restoration and beautification of Monte Vista continues, many murals have been added to the cityscape. From the building with the San Luis Valley Sandhill Crane wings, to the building that serves as backdrop for a parking lot that has the bucking stallion with the cowboy, to the agriculture scene that is painted on the back of a prominent building in town, Monte Vista has been splashed with colorful scenes.

The latest mural is entitled “Running Thunder” and depicts beautiful hand-painted horses in flight on the side of the Stars and Strikes bowling alley by artist Cheyrl Morris. Morris is a recently retired art teacher, who has been painting for many years.

Morris was excited about her painting and spoke of the inspiration behind it.

“Horses and children are my two favorite subject matters,” Morris said. “The last time I did the crane festival, I put some horse heads out there, and everyone really seemed to like my horses. Bernadette Hagendorf and I spoke about a place to put this mural of the horses; it’s really been developing for about a year. We looked into another building first but decided that it just wasn’t going to work out. When we looked into the bowling alley it just seemed like the perfect fit.”

Morris explained that Hagendorf had contacted her previously to finish the agricultural mural that was painted but not finished in town. She said that she also enhanced the mural that has the Sandhill Crane wings. Morris touched up the wings and enhanced them to make them brighter before sealant was used on them.

Morris explained her picture of her horses on the side of the bowling alley in detail and why they chose to name it “Running Thunder.”

“I have been around horses and raised horses my entire life,” Morris said. “The head mare in my picture in the front is a grey mare, a dapple grey after my grey mare. I tried to put different colors of mares to make the picture livelier and more beautiful. In working with Bernadette and (MV City Manager) Gigi Dennis we have chosen to call it ‘Running Thunder.’ If you look at them some of them are turned in one direction to run, and some of them are just onlookers wondering what the others are doing. I also painted some sagebrush into the picture with the horses.”

Morris stated that she often thinks of her grandchildren when she paints because they mean so much to her.

“One of my biggest dreams is to actually have my grandchildren help me paint a mural,” Morris said. “I think this would be a great memory for them. I have the dream of them painting a background on a mural with me. I want them to be a part of it. When I worked in Nevada, my students and I did a mural together. It was a fun time, and the students all signed their names on the mural. It was great.”

Morris stated that she thinks of other towns she has seen with murals and really believes in murals and what they can do for towns.

“They make towns magical places. They just do things for towns. They make them come to life and look better,” Morris said.

Morris stated that she would like to do more murals for Monte Vista and is currently thinking of others that she can do.