Art professor brings life to coffee shop

By Mike Linn

A local art professor has brought new meaning to the term “grande” cappuccino. If this seems a bit confusing, take a look at the mural she recently finished in the courtyard of the Do Drop In coffee shop.
Micki Muhlbauer, an art professor at Eastern New Mexico University, painted a trio of colossal coffee cups and a huge spoon on a wall behind the shop located at 211 S. Ave. A.
Her decision to donate her time and expertise to the mural project comes at a time when the Portales Mainstreet Organization is aggressively lobbying for a more eye-appealing downtown.
The organization recently donated more than $1,000 for a facade upgrade project at Big League Sports located at 114 S. Ave. A on the square, according to Mainstreet vice president Greg Erf.
It was the first batch of funds donated from the Mainstreet’s facade improvement program, he said.
“The owner of Big League Sports was planning on doing a facade upgrade anyway, so we looked at his application and decided to match what he put forth about 50/50 I believe, to make the new facade look even better,” said Erf, who said most of Mainstreet’s money is collected through annual member dues and fund-raisers. “We’d like to do something like this once a year.”
A member of Mainstreet, Muhlbauer thought the mural project would not only benefit the business but the community.
“I took one look at that bland wall and thought it would be a great place for a mural of some sort,” Muhlbauer said. “It sort of jazzes up the place, makes Portales look like a neat area to live.”
Muhlbauer estimated the project took her and helpers about 100 hours to complete. The mural was complete on Thursday, and it cost Do Drop In owners about $300 for paint and other supplies.
“It turned out to be a beautiful piece of work,” Do Drop In co-owner Ernest Cordova said. “We appreciate what Micki did. It just shows what kind of people work at Eastern, great professionals and people who give back to the community.”