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Colorado Latino artist asks community for help finding safer storage

Colorado artist picking up pieces after artwork destroyed before upcoming show
Colorado artist picking up pieces after artwork destroyed before upcoming show 02:00

A new installation in Aurora's Stanley Marketplace celebrates women and Hispanic culture. Beautiful, handmade dolls tower above the heads of guests, catching eyes as they walk inside. When the creator saw them earlier this week, it was the smell that caught his attention.


When artist Norberto Mojardin retrieved the dolls from his Denver warehouse to transport, he noticed a foul odor.

"They smelled like pee," said Mojardin. "I don't point fingers....Maybe a rat or a cat came in here. I don't know. At this point, I'm looking for the safety of the preservation of all this art."

Inside the warehouse he rents near Empower Field at Mile High, Mojardin houses years of culture.


 Underneath dozens of plastic-covered creations are memories from events celebrating Latino culture.

There are years worth of artwork that don't just belong to him, but the entire Hispanic community.

"Every year we gather the families, we create flowers, we make murals. I teach them how to paint, specifically for Dia de los Muertos. I preserve all that art for years," said Mojardin. "There's a lot of detail and a lot of stories in a lot of the pieces."

Mojardin is dedicated to his community. He curated the country's largest Dia de los Muertos exhibit in an Walmart in Aurora and founded Colorado's Latin Fashion Week.

Murals, decorations, designs, and art from seasons of events are stored inside.


The warehouse rent has become more than he can manage, and he told his landlord he'd vacate by the end of the month. The urine-stained dolls added new urgency for safe storage.

Mojardin cleaned the doll installations, and they stand perfectly in Stanley Marketplace, but he worries what other damage may occur to pieces and memories that can't be replaced.

He says what he aims to protect is bigger than the art.

"70% of all the people who went to 2023 Dia de Los Muertos were not Latino. For me, that means a lot," said Mojardin. "I want to unite communities."

He's asking for support to help find and afford a space to safely house Latino art.

In an online fundraiser, he writes: "This are very deliciated art pieces that needs a big storage unit because of their size, I need your support to help me save this artwork. In addition, these funds will help me to continue building the community events that are self-funded by me and my organization Viva Colorado. Any contribution to this cause will extremely help me to continue the mission and to keep our traditions alive for our new generation." 

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