On November 7, 2015, the community gathered around the east side of the Orpheum Theater to celebrate the completion of the Sound of Flight mural. Artists Sky Black, R.E. Wall and Maggie Dewar worked together for two years to craft the 4500 square foot mural. It’s currently considered the largest mural in the state of Arizona.
The mural is influenced by classical art with Sky Black’s characteristic surrealist tendency. The striking image of a hundred birds flying out of an ornately decorated grand piano depicts the climax of a song. The birds make their way across the wall past the twenty-five foot tall figures of Michelangelo’s “David” and a woman in red. They then migrate over the head of a howling wolf and Rodin’s statue, the “Thinker”, and into the sun as it sets on the Grand Canyon.
More than just a work of art, Sound of Flight was a community project. The three artists worked tirelessly for two years to involve the community and raise the funds necessary to complete the project. The Sound of Flight mural was created with community support from ninety local business sponsors and over 500 individual donations. There were two Kickstarter-style online campaigns. The project was also made possible through grants from the City of Flagstaff BBB Revenues, which are awarded by the Flagstaff Arts Council and the Beautification and Public Art Commission.
Upon completion of the work, the artists hosted a community celebration, the Dedication Event. Flagstaff’s Sambatuque opened the event, and performances from Flagstaff Aerial Arts and Tow’rs, among others, took place right in front of the mural. Flagstaff Mayor Jerry Nabours attended and spoke to the audience before cutting the ribbon to finally “unveil” the enormous work of art.