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Artist chosen for downtown mural project

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Local artist Larry Bob Phillips will paint the mural on the International UFO Museum & Research Center building. He is seen with a depiction of the mural and with Kathy Lay, left, executive director of MainStreet Roswell and a partner in the project, and MainStreet Roswell board member Molly Boyles. (Submitted Photo)

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Local artist Larry Bob Phillips has been selected to do the mural at the International UFO Museum & Research Center in downtown Roswell.

The museum and MainStreet Roswell, both of which are nonprofit organizations, made the announcement Monday about the artist chosen to paint the mural on the north side of the museum building, which is located at North Main Street and West Second Street. It will be designed as a photo attraction, made to look as if people standing near it are walking up the ramp into a spaceship.

The new mural will be funded through a grant awarded to MainStreet Roswell by the New Mexico Resiliency Alliance, with $4,000 in matching funds provided by the International UFO Museum & Research Center.

The museum has reviewed and approved the mural artwork concept — created by MainStreet Roswell — the selection of artist Phillips; and the actual mock-up artwork painted by Phillips, according to the release.

In the next few weeks, special materials will be purchased, with painting due to begin in October.

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The organizations stated in their release that Phillips has an impressive list of credits, including large-scale permanent and temporary murals in Albuquerque and at Meow Wolf, as well as elsewhere.

He studied at the Kansas City Art Institute in the early 1990s. He moved to New York, where he built art exhibits for galleries and museums. He attended the University of New Mexico and received a Master of Fine Arts in 2005.

Since graduating, he has taught art at the college level and maintained a busy exhibition and mural schedule. In 2018, he took a position as Meow Wolf’s paint and pigment specialist; and, in 2019, became the director of the Roswell-Artist-in-Residence program.

“We are honored to have such a well-respected and talented artist for this mural project, and we are very grateful to the International UFO Museum & Research Center for supporting this public art project,” said Kathy Lay, executive director of MainStreet Roswell. “Research has proven that public art can have a positive economic impact in the surrounding area. We believe this artwork will become a favorite photo and filming location and that it will help to encourage even more foot traffic in the downtown district. This is just one of the many ways the International UFO Museum & Research Center is supporting our community, and we couldn’t ask for a better community partner in this project!”