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MBH Architects designs art studio at Colorado School of the Deaf and Blind

Updated: Jan 22, 2021

Colorado Real Estate Journal | January 20, 2021

Alameda, California-based architecture and design firm MBH Architects has partnered with nonprofit children’s charity Good Tidings Foundation for the 17th time, giving back to the Colorado Springs community through its new project, LeRoy Neiman Art Studio at Colorado School of the Deaf and Blind.

LeRoy Neiman, an American artist renowned for his colorful and energetic paintings, first met Good Tidings founder Larry Harper in 1989 when Neiman was commissioned to paint Bay Area Base-ball – an artwork inspired by the San Francisco Giants – for the World Series. After becoming good friends, Harper and Neiman joined forces to conceptualize the LeRoy Neiman Arts Studio.

In 2006, MBH Architects was tapped to design the LeRoy Neiman Arts Studio at Pier 9 in San Francisco. After LeRoy Neiman’s passing in 2012, the Good Tidings Foundation continued to renovate Leroy Neiman Art Studios at various locations using grants from the LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation. The LeRoy Neiman Art Studio at Colorado School of the Deaf and Blind marks the 14th location of the organization, and the 13th LeRoy Neiman Arts Studio designed by MBH.

Made possible through a generous grant from the LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation, which funded the construction, design and furnishings for the project, MBH was scoped with the interior design of the new 1,000-square-foot art studio, working closely with Raine Building General Contractors. With a focus on assisting deaf and blind students explore their art skills in a creative, visually uplifting environment, the art studio will provide art education for students ranging from elementary to high school, facilitating classes on painting, drawing, ceramics and sculpture.

The design was inspired by the contextuality of the city and its reputation as an inter-nationally renowned winter sports hub. The art studio itself, located in Colorado Springs, is minutes away from the U.S. Olympic Paralympic Museum. Learning to ski is an important activity for the students at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind; the school has been collaborating with Foresight Ski Guides, another nonprofit organization, to teach their blind students how to ski. Similarly, Neiman was the official artist of five Olympic Games, spanning from 1972 to 2010. As such, sporting motifs referencing the Winter Olympic games and skiing are found throughout.

To celebrate the artist’s story and interest in the subject matter, MBH incorporated signature LeRoy hand-splattered paint to decorate the floor – also a nod to LeRoy’s personal art studio in New York City. Continuing the celebration of the artist’s work, Neiman’s paintings also are trans-formed into large mural prints to span the walls, serving as the artistic focal point in the room. To accentuate the speed and excitement depicted in the murals, MBH incorporated 3D objects, including skis and ski poles, mounted onto the mural for added visual excitement. The wall paint colors also were selected to complement the Neiman murals within the space – various hues of blues, reds, yellows and grays adorn the space, adding to this sense of painterly movement for which the artist is renowned.

Originally published in Colorado Real Estate Journal on January 20, 2021.


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