MONTROSE, Colo. (KREX)–The “Mexican-American Development Association, or MADA–located in Montrose’s “Tortilla Flats” neighborhood–is a haven for Mexican Americans on the Western Slope—which was named for the area’s unique smell of tortillas being cooked.

MADA hosts birthday parties, community gatherings, and cooking classes– they also provide emergency assistance for community members in need. but a major health risk, asbestos, halted community events when they renovated the building; but during the remodel, a mural–that meant a great deal to the MADA community–was lost. Luckily one community member, Darlene Mora, knew Juan Espinosa–the original muralist–and went to MADA administrators with a brilliant idea.

So, muralist Juan Espinoza made the trip from Pueblo, Colorado to his hometown in Montrose to recreate the “March of Memories” mural he first painted 50 years ago–but this time, on canvas. The new and old murals have some key similarities, like the central figure, Ricardo Falcon–who was murdered in New Mexico because of an argument over an overheated engine the year Espinosa painted the original mural. The mural also depicts local Mestizo history, the “mojones” which sheepherders once stacked in area pastures, Ute Chief Colorow: the last to fight against removal from the Uncompahgre, the old Morada, and a flag with a thunderbird representing farm workers.

This beautiful piece art and history may have been lost forever, if Espinosa hadn’t picked up his paintbrush a second time.