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The Hero's Shield

There is a new piece of art on Main Street in downtown Grand Junction. The Hero’s Shield is an impressive 115-pound piece that was created by Colorado Mesa University student Nic Van Der Schouw-Schroeder.

"It has a few different meanings behind it,” Van Der Schouw-Schroeder said. "The weight is kind of a reference to the responsibility that a hero carries."

Hanging on the exterior of The Shade Tree at 618 Main Street, the shield is adorned with different symbolic imagery.

Each edge of the shield depicts different imagery of female figures — on one side the female figure is an angel, the other is a succubus.

“I wanted it to symbolize the balance that you have to find, that balance between good and evil,” Van Der Schouw-Schroeder said.

In the center of the shield is the head of the lion, symbolic of the courage and bravery a hero must have in facing fears. The base of the shield has thorns and flames creeping towards the lion’s face, symbolizing the hero’s path through danger.

close up of a lion sculpture

This is Grand Junction Art on the Corner's first hanging piece and Van Der Schouw-Schroeder’s first public piece. He worked closely with the owners of The Shade Tree to hang the sculpture.

“They were very crucial and helped me decide how high to hang it and think about where we wanted it. We wanted to put it on the side of the building, but how close do we want it to the door? Do we want a framework around it or do we want it just as it as is? It was very, very helpful,” he said.

Van Der Schouw-Schroeder is a senior in the fine arts program focusing on studio art. The Hero’s Shield was done in class at Colorado Mesa University. He credits his professors KyoungHwa Oh and Araan Schmidt for pushing his creative boundaries.

“KyoungHwa pushes you beyond where you think your limits are and to grow within the technical aspect. Araan, on the flip side, he pushes you, but he pushes you in a different direction. He pushes you in the creative aspect of the job,” Van Der Schow-Schroeder said.

The Hero’s Shield will remain on the wall of The Shade Tree for a full year. More of Van Der Schouw-Schroeder’s art will be displayed during the senior show at the downtown Colorado Mesa University art gallery, 437CO, in April 2020. The senior show will also feature work from three other graduating students.

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Written by Zoe Shanahan, student