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District 6 student paints mural for local business

Avalon Parlin’s eyes lit up as a Sam’s Club employee complimented the colorful mural she had painted just outside the employee break room. 

Avalon Parlin sits in front of the mural she painted at Sam's Club in Evans 2023

“Everyone loves the mural. What makes it special is that a teen in our community produced it,” said Sam’s Club Manager Mickey Hendren. 


Mickey’s desire to create a “local feel” in his Sam’s Club and support students in District 6 started the search for an artist. The quest even involved Evans Police School Resource Officer Teresa McClatchey, who has a great relationship with both Sam’s Club staff and Greeley-Evans students. To Officer McClatchey, the obvious answer was to tap the talent at Chappelow Arts Magnet School.


As an 8th grader at the school, Avalon Parlin was nominated by middle school art teacher Alison Myers to paint the mural. Specializing in portraits, Avalon felt confident that she could work with Mickey to create a design and execute it.


“This was my first mural,” she said while standing in front of the roughly 7 foot by 10 foot piece. 


Despite this being her first mural, Avalon carried herself like a professional artist. She created sketches, delivered those sketches to Mickey for approval, made adjustments based on feedback, created a grid consisting of 1 foot by 1 foot squares, then got to painting.


For two weeks, the young artist spent nearly every morning and afternoon painting. Blocking in one grid at a time, Sam Walton’s portrait, a red and white pickup truck, and the mountainous Colorado landscape came to life on the hallway wall. She finished the mural right before starting her freshman year at Greeley Central High School.


Impressed, employees began asking Avalon to paint murals for them.  


 “Some of the employees asked me to paint something in their yards,” said a smiling Avalon. “I’ll definitely make more murals.” 


Her former art teacher was also impressed with the finished product. “She worked hard to create a design that would fit the needs of the project, and she definitely delivered!”


Avalon’s future plans of becoming a visual artist have started early thanks to relationships built between businesses, law enforcement, and public education. 


As stated on the mural itself: “We’re all working together; that’s the secret.”