performance by Anne Thulson and Allison Shelley
photographed by Dane Heyer Peterson and Fred Thulson
Posing as two WPA artists, Jenne and Ethel Magafan, Anne and Allison placed themselves at two public buildings in Denver where Jenne and Ethel had placed their murals. Then they walked towards each other.
Allison started at Ethel Magafan’s mural “The Horse Corral” at the post office at 225 South Broadway.
She walked north towards Jenne Magafan’s mural blocks away.
She walked until she ran into Anne
Anne started at Jenne Magafan’s mural of women pioneers at West High School, 951 Elati Street.
She walked until she ran into Allison.
She walked southeast towards Ethel Magafan’s mural blocks away.
They met at what happened to be at Broadway and Third Avenue.
Here they made a shrine to the Magafan sisters.
Here they acknowledged little known, local work by local artists, especially the artwork done in Denver under the Treasury Department during the New Deal.
Then they went home.
This walk mirrors the way in which the Magafan twins pieced together a living from one U.S. Treasury Department mural commission to the next, all the way through the Great Depression with uncanny synchronicity, fortuity, and symmetry. Each sister had 8 commissions each in the Western states.