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"Don't wait to be kind" depicts a story of love

The mural features a drawing of Creaser’s mother and her son surrounded by blue and orange flowers.
"Don't Wait to be Kind" mural at the Village at the Peaks

“Kindness” is a core tenant of Dena Creaser’s work and art. “My whole message is kindness,” Creaser said.

Creaser spends her days working as a security guard at the Fort Collins marketplace. 

“It’s not always an easy job,” she said, “but I have become known around the homeless camps as the security guard with a kind heart.”

As an artist, Creaser became inspired to start drawing the people she met while on patrol at her job.

 “I’ve always liked to draw in charcoal. Pencil and charcoal are really my preferred mediums,” she said.

It didn’t take long for word of Creaser’s art to spread. A business owner in the plaza encouraged her to create a compilation of her works and helped Creaser to produce a book available on Amazon called “Out of the Shadows: drawings from my daily walk.”

Eventually, the book ended up in the hands of Creaser’s employer Newmark Merrill, which owns shopping centers throughout Colorado, California, Illinois and Washington. 

“Sandy Sanford the CEO called me and asked if I would be willing to have some of my drawings on murals in some of their shopping centers in Colorado and California. Of course, I was excited and honored and surprised. They have helped me spread my message of kindness,” Creaser said.

One of Creaser’s sketches has now been turned into a wall-length mural at Longmont’s Village at the Peaks.

“I didn’t get to choose what sketch would be used,” she said. “I gave them several and they chose the one they wanted.”

Ultimately, the chosen art depicts Creaser’s mother and her son. 

“My mom died of cancer in 2020 and my son took some time off to help care for her in her last few months. When I found out they had selected that one, I just cried. It was so special,” she said.

The mural features a drawing of Creaser’s mother and her son surrounded by blue and orange flowers. The words “don’t wait to be kind” are written in large, red letters floating above the two figures.

The mural was painted by Erie artist, Angie Nordstrum.

Nordstrum worked as a graphic designer for more than two decades and has done other projects with Village at the Peaks in the past. In 2020, she painted the “Greetings from Longmont” mural at the shopping center.

“Learning that I had painted her (Creaser’s) mother and her son, made this piece extra special,” Nordstrum said. “The message of kindness is also extremely important. I had so many people stop and talk with me once the words were painted. It’s such a good message.”

Taking a small sketch and turning it into a wall-sized mural required Nordstrum to first enlarge Creaser’s work digitally in such a way that would preserve the smallest details of the drawing. 

“We did several rounds of revisions on the digital mockups to get the design and colors just right,” Nordstrum siad. Once the draft was approved, Nordstrum used a projector to transfer the design onto the wall.

One significant aspect of the mural is that it represents people of different ages. 

“Older people are rarely represented in public art. I had several people talk to me while I painted and share with me how they appreciated an older person being a part of a public art piece,” Nordstrum said.

“I want my art to start conversations which emphasize we are all human beings and deserve to be treated with respect and love, and that we all have struggles and kindness matters,” Creaser said.