Denver street artists have been busy brightening (and enlightening) the urban landscape for decades by making canvases of the city’s alleyways, building exteriors, warehouses, garage doors and storefronts. Now with local news source Westword reporting a proliferation of more than 100 new creations in just one summer, there’s more Denver street art to see in Denver than ever before.
THE ART DISTRICT ON SANTA FE
The Art District on Santa Fe is a designated Colorado Creative District, with the largest concentration of art galleries in Colorado — more than 60 of them. The neighborhood is splashed in brilliant color and covered in artwork from head to toe, inside its galleries and outside on it doors, alleys, hallways, sidewalks, walls, mailboxes, windows…you get the picture.
Three to See:
“Smiling Boy” – The alley between Santa Fe Drive and Inca Street is one long chain of wonderful murals, including this touching depiction of a jubilant boy with outstretched arms, painted by an artist who goes by the street name B.L.V.D.
"The Mermaid" – Women bearing sensual expressions and flowing hair wrap around the corner at 9th and Santa Fe Drive. in bold turquoise, tangerine, lime and electric blue. It was painted by Josiah Lee Lopez, in conjunction with artist Ratha Sok and students of VSA Colorado, a program that connects people with disabilities to artistic opportunities.
10th and Santa Fe – A woman in a dazzling Native American headdress holds a hovering planet Earth in her palms while cheetahs lounge nearby and a parrot stretches his wings above in this fierce illustration outside the Colorado Housing Assistance Corporation’s office. The work is by Robin Munro, alongside artists Zeb and Pisto.
A hip enclave within the Highlands neighborhood, Confluence Park is nestled just east of I-25 where the South Platte River and Cherry Creek converge. The area enjoys acres of riverside parkland and a trendy collection of eateries, boutiques and condominiums — plus a significant number of colorful paintings adorning bars, breweries and building walls.
Three to See:
Peyton Manning – Well known by locals for his vivid murals all over the city, Gamma Acosta further endeared himself to Denverites by rendering a tribute to former Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning on the side of the Monkey Barrel Bar (Platte Street beside the Highland Bridge). The glowing Vince Lombardi Trophy was added promptly after Manning’s Super Bowl 50 win.
“Greetings from Denver” – Artist Victor Ving travels the country creating vintage postcard-style tributes to cities. Denver’s is a standout, complete with skier, craft beer, iconic Union Station, Red Rocks Amphitheatre and other sources of local pride. See it on the side of Denver Beer Co. at 1695 Platte St.
“Denver 1859” – While we were researching this article, we came upon Delton Demarest and Harrison Nealey, who were unloading a rainbow of aerosol cans, erecting ladders and beginning work to reproduce a historic scene of Denver in 1859, a year after the city’s founding when gold seekers were pouring into town. See the completed work in the alley a half block north of 15th Street on Platte.
As South Broadway undergoes a major renaissance — with theaters, music venues, bars, restaurants, galleries and shops flourishing like mad — the district’s open-air art tradition continues to thrive as well. Much of it is more of the “renegrade” strain of street art, with nearly every alleyway and side street on the west side of South Broadway sporting some kind of expression — from graffiti tags to elaborate masterpieces.
Three to See:
GB Fish and Chips – GB’s has given Delton Demarest free hand at covering the patio area and alleyway behind the restaurant with murals — from a playful sea-life soccer game to a tribute to the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin splashed across the Union Jack, this is a spot with plenty to take in.
Bushwackers Saloon – The murals on Bushwackers practically jump off the wall. Be creeped out by the green girl with ants crawling over her, admire the detail of the dinosaurs chasing cars, or imagine being swallowed by a giant tiger mid-roar.
1866 South Broadway - On a wall outside the brick Regal Vintage (a used clothing and jewelry store) is a portrait of a biblical Eve-like woman but with modern style, punctuated by a rather colorful serpent. It was created by Victoriano Rivera, a young artist with a growing reputation.