Mural: ‘Is this supposed to be art?’
Editor's note: The following letter to Aaron Moore, co-owner of Westside Tattoo and Art Gallery, is being run in the Westside Pioneer at the author's request. A response from Westside Tattoo also appears on this page.
       Dear Mr. Moore:
       Words cannot fully convey how upset and dismayed I felt, upon returning from a recent trip, to be confronted by the gaudy display across the entire west face of your building. Is this supposed to be “art”? It looks to me like the desecration of the Colorado state flag. I have seen similar glorified graffiti on freeway underpasses, on railroad cars, and on abandoned buildings. Unfortunately, you have chosen to display this so-called “art” at one of the main gateways into historic Old Colorado City. What kind of message do you think this “artwork” sends to a newcomer or visiting tourist? I hardly think it would be considered a congenial welcome to the Westside. I would not be surprised if tourists nearing your building make an immediate U-turn back to Highway 24.
       My husband and I live less than two blocks from your building. We have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours over the past few years fixing up our little Victorian. In less than two weeks, you have made our neighborhood less attractive. I sincerely hope that the message your “artwork” conveys does not invite gang taggings into our area, or in any other way contribute to the decline of our neighborhood's safety. My only hope is that when you move on, the next occupant of your building will be a better neighbor to the residents of this area by whitewashing your “canvas” and returning some dignity to this entrance of our city.

Rose Kliewer

     Mural: ‘Welcomed... with hatred’
       I am a proud Westsider of 30 years from preschool through high school, growing up in a very diverse, artistic, open-minded community proud to support local businesses. Now I am raising a wonderful family and am a proud new business owner of West Side Tattoo and Art Gallery. We are setting new tattoo industry standards and are supporting many local artists with our art gallery. Our shop is pulling people from all over the world to the Westside at approximately 100 to 300 people a week.
       We received this letter from Rose Kliewer, the vice president of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) as our welcome from her, with no return address. Our mural was created for free from eight different artists from all over the state to represent our country and state here on the Westside in Colorado Springs.
       I do not believe any business should be welcomed to the Westside with such hatred, especially from someone who is supposed to represent the Westside community. I know this is not the voice of a large majority of Westside citizens, and I would highly suggest taking part in the monthly OWN meetings. The organization is doing some great things, but at the same time is trying to put restrictions on people that many of us are not aware of.
       When we walked in this last meeting, we were judged by certain community representatives from the second we sat down, for just wearing tattoos. We were told we were turning the Westside back into a skid row district like 20 years ago. Where were they 20 years ago because Old Colorado City was not a skid row district 20 years ago. One of our artists was told by a citizen at the meeting that he would never rent to people like us. I do not believe we should have certain people with such prejudice representing the Westside. Please get involved before we, the people who are the Westside, lose control of all of the qualities that build the character to draw people to the Westside. The arts, crafts, food, creativity, diversity along with the historical beauty, all of these bring the people to Old Colorado City. Colorado doesn't need another ghost town.
       Thank you.

Aaron Moore
West Side Tattoo