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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.
Like one of its iconic neon marquees, East Colfax is abuzz with energy 24/7. Some of Denver’s best live music venues are here, and its solidly urban, slightly gritty nature is both a draw and incubator for artistic expression. With a grant program in the works, expect to see even more street art coming to East Colfax soon.
Three to See:
“George Floyd” – In 2020, muralists Detour and Hiero completed a portrait of George Floyd on the Ready Temporary Services building located on Colfax Avenue at High Street. It was part of a campaign of murals that call attention to African Americans who've been killed at the hands of police officers.
“Walmart Girl” – Smiley faces replace the heads on a row of nude, arms-bearing women in this bold statement by Ark Artiste. It, too, is part of the 30-artist installation at Williams and Colfax.
ABend Gallery Mural – The gallery, commissioned Anthony Garcia and Caleb Hahne, features a transfixing image of blindfolded and closed-eye faces fragmented by lines and bursts of color. See it at York and Colfax.
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.
The Colorado Wildlife Council has partnered with local artist AJ Davis to educate Coloradans on the benefits of wildlife management and conservation by creating a unique interactive augmented reality mural.
The mural features two beloved Colorado animals, the elk and cutthroat trout. Colorado is home to three native subspecies of native trout: the Rio Grande, Colorado River and greenback. And, according to the council, the state has the largest elk population in the world, thanks to successful conservation efforts.
The physical mural is located at 1114 Acoma Street. Or you can view it on your mobile device by scanning the QR code. Once you activate it, you can watch the animals come to life or take a selfie as an elk.