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The Soul of the Community

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Illustration of person in overalls painting a brick wall

Emanuel Martinez started a community mural movement in Denver in the early 1970s, bringing colorful life to the local Chicano Movement. His mural "La Alma" is a central part of the historic La Alma Lincoln Park neighborhood where he painted it more than 45 years ago. But other murals Emanuel painted at the time have been wiped out. And now, someone very close to him is fighting for important murals like his to be protected and preserved.

To learn more about the Chicano/a/x Murals of Colorado Project, visit chicanomuralsofcolorado.com.

You can find the mural at the La Alma Recreation Center at 1325 W 11th Ave in Denver.

We’ve collaborated with Apple Maps to create a guide to the murals and special places you’ve heard about on Off the Walls. It features a map of some of the coolest public art in Colorado, plus photos of the murals we talk about on the show. To check it out, go to apple.co/Off-The-Walls.

Emanuel Martinez's mural "La Alma" in Denver's historic La Alma-Lincoln Park neighborhood.
Emanuel Martinez's mural "La Alma" in Denver's historic La Alma-Lincoln Park neighborhood.
Emanuel Martinez poses for a portrait in his studio in Morrison in 2019.
Lucha Martinez de Luna, founder of the Chicano Murals Project of Colorado, is an advocate for the preservation of Chicano murals in Denver and throughout the state. July 28, 2023.

Hosts: Kibwe Cooper, Emily Williams
Editor: Jo Erickson
Written and reported by Emily Williams and Kibwe Cooper
Mixed by Kibwe Cooper
Denverite editor: Obed Manuel
Additional editorial support: Kevin Beaty, Erin Jones, Rebekah Romberg, Luis Antonio Perez
Theme music by Kibwe Cooper. Additional music via Universal Production Music.
Artwork: Maria Juliana Pinzón
Photography: Kevin Beaty
Executive producer: Brad Turner, Kevin Dale
Thanks also to Hart Van Denburg, Jodi Gersh, Kyle Harris, Desiree Mathurin, Kim Nguyen, Clara Shelton, Rebecca Tauber, Isaac Vargas, Arielle Wilson.

This show was produced with support from PRX, and is made possible in part by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and a grant from the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation.

Off the Walls is a production of Denverite and Colorado Public Radio — part of the NPR Network.


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