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The public is invited to the historic Milligan House building, office of the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau in downtown Flagstaff, to view the city’s newest public art installation.
Phase two of the “Ghost of Mabel Milligan,” was recently completed by the Mural Mice; artists Margaret Dewar and R.E. Wall. This phase of the mural, known as the “Ghost Gallery of Mabel Milligan,” was painted over several months in early 2017 in the stairwell landing of the two-story Victorian house, to further showcase the building and Flagstaff’s history to visitors taking the self-guided walking tour titled, “Flagstaff’s Haunted Places.” The building located at 323 W Aspen Avenue, is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for visitors to see the mural and explore Flagstaff’s intriguing past.
The new upstairs gallery portion of the mural joins the depiction of Mabel’s ghost on the wall at the foot of the stairs which was completed fall 2016 in the Trompe l’oeil style. After ascending a portion of the stairs, mural viewers are greeted by three framed photographs painted on the wall with a background of stenciled Victorian style wallpaper. To add an element of whimsy to the mural, one of the frames depicts an empty bird nest and the missing bird can be seen a few feet away flying towards the frame with a twig in its beak.
A highlight of the ghost gallery portion of the mural is an open window with a view facing east to a winter evening scene from New Year’s Eve 1915 when one of the largest snowstorms in Flagstaff history crippled The Majestic Theater building. Five feet of snow fell overnight and the theater roof collapsed under the weight of the snow. In 1917, Mr. Weatherford rebuilt the theater and renamed it the Orpheum as it is known today. It is certain that the snow-crushed theater would have been visible from the second story of the Milligan House at that time, and the Mural Mice incorporated this historic scene Mabel would have seen into the painting.
Looking up, red velvet drapes wrap around the space giving it a regal appearance. The drapes are similar to red curtains found on stage in theaters, with one exception, they are adorned with gold tassels and fringe. The curtains open to a blown off roof exposing a celestial view of a dark star filled night sky, as a nod to Flagstaff’s history as the world’s first “International Dark Sky City.”
A video depicting the making of the mural can be found here: https://youtu.be/9gWBcUEElDI
Read more from the Mural Mice on the creative process and story behind the mural here: muralmice.com/mural-gallery/52-ghost-gallery-of-mabel-milligan
Additional high resolution photos of the artwork are available to accompany editorial coverage of the new mural. Email Lori Pappas at firstname.lastname@example.org to request photos.