Biz buzz:
Baalman’s unique tribute to Lincoln

       Old Colorado City artist Jason Baalman, who became nationally known two years ago for painting with unusual “brushes,” has come up with a new creation: the face of Abraham Lincoln, made entirely of pennies.

Artist Jason Baalman stands next to his new penny painting of Abraham Lincoln Feb. 12 in the Hunter-Wolff Gallery in Old Colorado City. He used all but one type of Lincoln penny in the creation.
Westside Pioneer photo

       His work was unveiled Feb. 12, Lincoln's birthday, at the Hunter-Wolff Gallery, 2510 W. Colorado Ave., where it will remain on display through Feb. 22.
       Baalman said the release date also intentionally coincided with the US government's latest minting of a penny with Lincoln's face on it.
       “I've painted with Cheetos, Mascara, Ketchup, and Lipstick,” he said. “Using pennies just seemed like a natural choice to create a portrait of Abraham Lincoln.”
       Aided by a local coin collector, Baalman used all of the Lincoln penny mintings ever made (going back to 1908), except for one rare type he couldn't afford.
       He said he was able to define Lincoln's face by sorting the coins on the basis of their coloration. The newer, shinier pennies form the background, while the more tarnished ones define the face.
       Baalman has been featured on The Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America, and CNN, and posts videos of his art endeavors on an Internet YouTube site. The son of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory owners Ron and Mazie Baalman, he opened his Eclectic Asylum studio in Old Colorado City in 2005.
       The Taste of New Orleans, a creole and cajun cuisine restaurant in Old Town Plaza, will be joined by other Plaza merchants for a Mardi Gras-style “grand opening” Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 21-22.
       Including live music, jugglers, fire-eaters and stilt-walkers, entertainment and interactive activities are scheduled in the plaza, 2501 W. Colorado Ave., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days.
       A contest for the most creative Mardi Gras costume will be Feb. 21 from 1 to 3 p.m.
       Beth Mell, the owner of Taste of New Orleans, said the event is timed to be close to the actual Mardis Gras (Feb. 24 this year). “Mardis Gras is all about fun,” she said.
       Charles Irwin, President of the Old Colorado City Merchants Association, will preside as the Grand Marshall for the celebration.
       “Mardi Gras,” which means “fat Tuesday,” traditionally is the last day for Catholics to indulge before Ash Wednesday starts the sober weeks of fasting that come with Lent.
       Red Mountain Sports, 2611 West Colorado Ave., a lacrosse equipment supplier, will hold its season kick-off party Tuesday, Feb. 17 from 3 to 7 p.m. On hand will be Josh Sims, midfielder, of the Denver Outlaws professional lacrosse team.

Do you have any news about your business? Call the Westside Pioneer at 471-6776.