Olive Moya's New Mural at Illegal Pete's: "IT'S OK NOT TO BE OK"

A mockup of a new mural in the works outside Illegal Pete's at 1744 East Evans.
Olive Moya / Hope for the Day
A mockup of a new mural in the works outside Illegal Pete's at 1744 East Evans.
Feeling broken? We get it. And so do those behind a new mural that Denver artist Olive Moya will paint this last weekend in May at the Illegal Pete's at 1744 East Evans Avenue, near the University of Denver.

Over a black background and swirling bright colors, the mural states: "IT'S OK NOT TO BE OK," with a link to the website of Hope for the Day. Next to the window will be free pamphlets listing mental health resources.

"I created this mural specifically to represent change in a simple, gentle way," Moya says. "The abstract shape meanders up and down, twisting and gradually changing color. I wanted the message to read that change will happen. It may feel abrupt in the moment, but when you stand back, each shift feels much softer than when you were in it. You can see how each transition influences the next."

Hope for the Day, a mental-health awareness and suicide-prevention nonprofit, was founded in Chicago in 2011 by Jonny Boucher, as a response to losing friends and family members to suicide.

Hope for the Day is honored to be working with everyone involved, as our goal is to always work in the community and with the community to break the silence around mental health," Boucher says in a statement about the art. "'It’s ok not to be ok' is a reminder we are all works in progress and that we deserve the help that is available in our communities.”

The piece also serves as the launch of Illegal Pete's year-long RE:FRESH, an arts project commemorating the restaurant's 25 years in business.

Denver City Councilman Paul Kashmann is helping fund Moya's mural with the $2,020 Arts Challenge Grant given to each council district in the city by Denver Arts & Venues.

The artist's goal is to finish the work by Sunday, May 31, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, which ends that day.

"I, and so many many people I’ve known and loved, have suffered with mental health difficulties at some point," Moya explains. "Making art is one of the things that gives me purpose and heals me, and I feel that art in general holds so much power to affect people. I think the beauty of being human is our ability to create music, art, stories, etc. Those things can reach out and touch people in powerful ways."