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New Animal Mural Greets Zoo Visitors

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Local street artists find inspiration and teach others.

New Animal Mural Greets Zoo Visitors

Artists Albert Rosales (left) and Juan Morales (right) with two assistants (below) show off a freshly painted tiger. Photo courtesy of Albert Rosales.

January 25, 2013

Take a mini safari on your way to the ABQ BioPark Zoo and view the new animal-scape at Stover and 10th Street. The BioPark commissioned local street artist Albert Rosales to paint a mural that shows off animal diversity and adds color to the Zoo parking lot. The project was funded thanks to the New Mexico BioPark Society.

Two months and many cans of spray paint later, Rosales, along with second lead artist Juan Morales and several assistant and apprenticing artists, have covered a wall 200 feet long and 10 feet high with more than a dozen species, including a tiger, macaw, gorilla, warthog, chameleon, elephants and zebras. Watch a video by Rosales about the Zoo mural.

On Saturday, Jan. 26, at 1 p.m., students will roll up their sleeves to work alongside Rosales. After observing a rhino up-close, the students will help paint a life-sized rhino, the biggest addition to the mural. Rosales has been working with the young group for more than a year. They are interested in hip hop culture and look for opportunities to express themselves through art, dance and music. They are excited to be part of this large-scale street art project.

"This new, colorful mural is a fun way to welcome visitors," said Rick Janser, BioPark Director. "I have always wanted to do something with that drab brown building and working with Albert was a great way to get the community involved. The animal paintings make a great first impression as people turn into the parking lot."

"Working on a mural at the Zoo has been a dream come true," said Albert Rosales, lead artist for the mural. "It's great that artists have been talking to keepers and meeting the animals during this project. It helps us make it more personal. People can recognize the gorilla as Marcus, the silverback at the Zoo."

Rosales and his team observed BioPark animals and photographed them as references. Each large animal required one to three hours to spray paint, while smaller dragonflies and butterflies took artists only 20 minutes to create. Weather allowing, Rosales expects to complete the mural by early February.

For more information, email [email protected] or dial 311 locally (505-768-2000).

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