Mountaintop Medicine from Estes Park Health: New Mural at Estes Park Health brings Colorado splendor inside

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When you think of healing, life-affirming colors, you think of rich greens and beautiful blue hues. That’s what muralist Michael Young thought when he looked at a plain wall on the second floor waiting room of Estes Park Health and dreamed of something more, something beautiful.

“A hospital is just like banks and pharmacies,” Young noted. “They’re all brown, which is fine. That’s what you have to do for a business. But I walked in and the first thing I noticed was there were no light greens or blues. We live where God created the greatest scenery, so I just like to bring it in. You need something to bring up the spirits.”

Estes Park Health loved Young’s idea and hired him to turn two walls in the lab and diagnostic imaging waiting area into a tribute to the fauna of Colorado.

“Aspen trees take you from the ground and they move you up,” Young said. “You have to have greenery and blue sky.”

Donna McCleary works right across the waiting room from the mural project. She’s been with Estes Park Health for 21 years. She loves the idea of public artwork.

“Oh, it is amazing how he does things,” McCleary remarked “He starts off with just a white background and it slowly comes together. It’s going to be remarkable once it’s done. He’s done quite a few murals in town. We are very lucky to have it done here. And you know, that’s part of Colorado is the aspen trees, the columbines. Very Estes Park.”

McCleary said patients will appreciate the beautiful addition.

“I think they’re going to love it,” she added. “It’s something that’s soothing and it’s very peaceful.”

As a professional freelance muralist, Young has already created 29 murals in 23 locations. He felt drawn to create an original piece for Estes Park Health. He credits EPH with helping him with two hernia surgeries, treatment for a broken wrist, and an emergency heart problem that earned him a helicopter ride from the ER to another hospital where he had an eight-hour surgery.

“The staff here is just incredible,” he stressed. “They’re all good people. You never know when you’re going to need a hospital, but when you do, this place is right here.”

Young followed his design and spent his evenings creating his vision. One of the walls features 82 columbines, representing the year he graduated from Columbine High School. Overall, he meticulously painted 135 trees and 148 flowers.

“When people I don’t know walk by and say it looks wonderful, it’s like, ‘I’m doing something right,’” he said. “I just love to paint.”

Art has been used in hospitals since the 14th century. The integration of art into a healthcare facility not only provides a restorative and pleasant environment, but also reduces stress and provides opportunities for a positive mental escape in a clinical setting.

Young’s 27 painting sessions over a month’s time resulted in “Aspen Splendor.” The mural is replete with beautiful details, including some fun hidden Easter eggs for visitors to find, like a moose and an alien.

At Estes Park Health, we practice the art of medicine and embrace the power of healing.

To watch a video about the painting of the mural, go to


Michael Young’s other murals

You can find Michael Young’s other murals at the following locations:

·        Redrum Tattoos

·        Mocha Angelo’s Simply Christmas (3)

·        Poppy’s

·        Estes Valley Library children’s section

·        Bart’s Liquor (4)

·        Rocky Mountain Pharmacy (2)

·        Bank of Colorado

·        Sugar Shack

·        Riverwalk electrical box behind Mama Rose’s

·        Bond Park electrical box that looks like a cabin

·        Raven’s Roast Coffee

·        Christian Church of Estes Park

·        Estes Park Museum

·        Rail Museum in Golden

·        Cliffhanger Books (2)

·        KOA Campgrounds

·        Ice boxes at Ferncliff Food and Fuel

·        Quality Inn

·        Faux woodwork in the Macgregor Dining Room at the Stanley Hotel