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Bringing Color to the Community

Armando Silva creates art that helps inspire those in Greeley and beyond

Born in Sombrerete, Zacatecas, Mexico, Armando Silva has spent his life inspiring communities through art. Though most of his life has been spent in Colorado, moving to Milliken, CO, at the young age of five, Silva’s deeply held roots in his Mexican heritage greatly influenced his artistic expression. Simple traditions, such as spending summers in Mexico or speaking Spanish at home have helped Silva stay connected to his roots. Since Silva’s family moved to Northern Colorado to pursue the “American Dream,” Silva has given the gift of art, culture, and community to thousands in Greeley and beyond.

 Living in Colorado as a native Spanish speaker, art began as a necessary resource for Silva; it was a way to communicate and express himself when language wasn’t an option. “My passion for the arts is secondary for it being a necessity or a tool,” Armando explained. “I’ve always used drawing and dancing as a way to participate from a very young age, and I leveraged that into a way of expression.” The necessity of art turned into his passion and transformed him into the artist he is today.

 While attending college at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) for business, Silva often found himself distracted by drawing, eventually changing his major to Fine Arts with an emphasis in Painting. After graduating, his Alma Mater commissioned him to create the Bear mural that still resides inside the Campus Recreation Center at UNC. His vibrant mural of Albert Einstein, on 9th Avenue and 7th Street, was one of his first murals for the Greeley community at large.

Silva believes that his large-scale mural installations help “Give communities a sense of representation, pride and access to the arts in a way that is authentic and unique to the locality,” as evidenced by his countless murals completed for the Greeley community. Silva has a unique gift for bringing art to communities that might not have been able to experience it otherwise. 

Though Silva doesn’t necessarily claim these murals as his own, he asserts, “They aren’t necessarily mine; they belong to everybody, but nobody really owns them, in a way.”

Silva’s passion for art doesn’t end with drawing and painting. He also expresses himself  through dance and co-directs the Colorado Dance Collective, a non-profit adult dance company. He believes that like many other styles of art, dance allows him to be creative, expressive, and authentic. “Half the reason I draw and paint is because I was first a dancer.”

Silva incorporates dancing into his work, culminating in what he calls “Live Art.” In a matter of minutes, Silva can create vivid and detailed paintings that evoke emotion and tell a story, all accompanied by a passionate and engaging performance. The Denver Broncos commissioned Silva on multiple occasions to perform and create Live Art, as well as prominent business, nonprofits, and individuals across the state. Silva has inspired thousands through his artistic ability and engaging spirit, paired with his deeply held passion for people and community.

Silva believes communities are not tied to zip codes or neighborhoods but where individuals choose to engage with one another. He demonstrates what it truly means to be a part of a community, how to engage in it, and uses his work to help others navigate the world in which we live. 

“Community is what we actively participate in, what ends up being the front burner of our lives, which becomes what you subscribe to and what you show up to,” Armando said. “It’s a resource.” 

Silva believes that the magic of art is the utilization of resources to create and imagine. He recognizes that the resources he has now are different from the resources he would have access to elsewhere. His long summers spent in Mexico as a child helped him understand what it means to have access to resources and how they fluctuate based on your surroundings and circumstances. Because of that, Silva sees his art as a superpower of sorts, and like Spiderman, believes that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Silva uses his platform to lead, educate, and give back to the community. Silva shares the resources and spaces he has access to now through his murals, live performances, or paintings to provide people a platform to experience art.

Silva has been recognized across the state for his many talents and contributions to communities, even being awarded the Governor's Creative Leadership Award from Colorado Creative Industries. Though it’s not recognition, his passion for expression, gratitude, heritage, and love for art drives Silva to continue giving the gift of art, culture, and community to those around him.

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