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Previous MasterMinds: Lauri Lynnxe Murphy

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This week, as we look forward to this year's MasterMind awards, we check in with previous MasterMinds.

Thinking back on her 2005 MasterMind win for visual arts is bittersweet now for Lauri Lynnxe Murphy, since she had to close Capsule Gallery in January. Her Sante Fe Drive building was sold to make way for a parking lot. “Ironically, it was just at the point where, after putting in that five years, it was starting to make a profit. I closed the business at its point of greatest success, just because Denver has grown so expensive that I couldn’t find another suitable location.”

But Murphy doesn’t regret those last five years struggling to run a business, and MasterMind helped her have them. With the money, she was able to get a computer “that was actually from this century,” and she bought a new pair of shoes for the first time in ages. “I was at poverty level. I didn’t pay myself anything, so having that one was huge. It gave me the push to keep going. At that point, I was already starting to feel burnt out.”

“But the main thing it meant was the idea of having that kind of recognition from the community, and also the fact that it’s really the only grant that exists in Denver for artists. The year that I won, I didn’t know it existed. Nobody knew it existed, so it was like this huge feeling of belief in the community that I got out of it. The community supporting each other. It completely change my mind about how I felt about Denver to tell you the truth.”

Murphy got to know that arts community much better in the coming years at Capsule. While she gave hundreds of artists their start – their first chance to show their work – those artists became her extended family. “People helped me every step of the way, all the time, and the place was as much about them as it was anything I wanted to do. Total strangers would come in and help out, people I‘d never met donating their time. I’m consistently impressed with our community here.”

Now Murphy is back to being an artist, and happy as a clam. She cherished the business, but her heart has always been in the studio and it feels good to get her artistic career back on track. She’s now getting ready for a show at the Lab at Belmar, and she has shows at Plus Gallery and in Toronto later this year.

Always a fan of people who try to inspire art in others, one of Murphy’s favorite local artists of late is Rian Kerrane. “Her whole mission is to teach people about foundry work and pouring iron, making cast iron and cast bronze and she goes out and does it in public, and also invites all these artist to participate that would never have access to that kind of thing otherwise. It’s really original and has a great impact.” -- Jessica Centers

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