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A travel agent’s take on the big, blue DIA mustang



dia_mustang.jpg

Many of you may be familiar with my weekly newsletter, which I have had the pleasure of producing 45 to 50 times per year for almost 20 years. From time to time I am bound to make someone mad.

Well, it has happened again.

If you are a loyal reader of my newsletter, you will know that I have pulled no punches on my thoughts about the DIA Horse. If you are a not a loyal reader (shame on you!), I have said on several occasions that I think the statue is evil and mad-looking and not at all a welcoming sight for new visitors to our great state.

One of my very good and longtime customers called me several weeks ago and said they were not very happy with me and my very vocal opinion of the DIA Horse. The Western States Art Federation (WESTAF) asked me if I would come by their offices to discuss the issue.

(Before I go any further, I feel compelled to warn you that I do not have an artistic bone in my body. When artistic talent was being handed out, I must have been on the golf course. Because of my lack of artistic talent, I have no idea what makes great art and what make art that is not so great. I'm just a good Southern boy who lets my wife decorate the house and does not attempt to take credit for her art selections.)

I arrived at WESTAF and was greeted by Anthony Radich, WESTAF's Executive Director, and Raquel Vasquez, their Manager of Client Services. They had obviously gone to a lot of work to put together a very well done presentation on Luis Alfonso Jimenez, Jr., the artist that created the DIA "Mustang".

The presentation took me though Mr. Jimenez's many works and I have to admit the more I saw the more I liked and understood his work. A graduate of The University of Texas, Mr. Jimenez was very famous even before DIA commissioned him to create the DIA Mustang.

I knew that Mr. Jimenez died while working on the DIA Mustang (which, incidentally, fell on him and killed him), but I did not know the Mustang was actually completed by his staff and family. Had Mr. Jimenez been able to finish the Mustang, there is every indication the final piece would have been very bright and multi-colored. Mr. Jimenez's used very bright colors and neon lights to highlight most of his other works. Judging from these other works, the Mustang would have been far and away the most colorful object on the eastern plains.

While I enjoyed learning more about Mr. Jimenez, and I am extremely very grateful to Mr. Radich and Ms. Vasquez for their time, I still have to admit the DIA horse in its current form still looks scary to me.

For the most part, my newsletter readers agree with me. I frequently receive replies to my newsletter, with questions or comments on various travel related topics. By and far, the "scary horse" generates more traffic than any other topic. I have only received two replies to date telling me to get off my high horse and embrace the stag. One of them, in fact, is my favorite response of all. A gentleman (whose identity I am protecting from the horse) indicated he liked the Mustang because it reminded him of the time he was thrown from a horse and nearly died in Utah. I suppose it reminds him he is still alive, like a scary movie.

Mr. Radich and Ms. Vasquez from WESTAF were very gracious and did not try to make me to like the Mustang, but they did a great job of educating me and attempting to culture this old Southern Boy. I am not sure the culture part took, but I will now look at our DIA Mustang much differently every time I arrive and depart from DIA.

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Robert Polk

Robert Polk is CEO of Polk Majestic Travel Group, Denver's largest independent travel agency. He welcomes your comments and questions at Robert@polkmajestic.com.

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