Joshua Mays works on his mural on Cold Crush's Phoenix Wall for CRUSH 2016.
Joshua Mays works on his mural on Cold Crush's Phoenix Wall for CRUSH 2016.
Lindsey Bartlett

The Three Best Street-Art Projects in Denver

Street art has come up from the underground in Denver, moving into galleries and even onto the sides of commercial projects, commissioned by developers. With the seventh annual CRUSH hitting the streets of RiNo today, we're taking another look at three of our favorite street-art projects highlighted in the Best of Denver 2017.

Casey Kawaguchi painted one of the most photographed murals at CRUSH 2016 in the alley at 1309 26th Street.
Casey Kawaguchi painted one of the most photographed murals at CRUSH 2016 in the alley at 1309 26th Street.
Lindsey Bartlett

Best Annual Festival
CRUSH
Do you love the smell of aerosol in the morning? Do you realize that street art is so much more than graffiti? Then you’ll have a crush on CRUSH. Now heading into its seventh festival, the weeklong event is welcoming over a hundred local, national and international street artists who paint walls in RiNo and beyond  — all with the property owners’ blessing. CRUSH founder Robin Munro has worked hard to push the RiNo Art District as a leader in the urban arts scene — not just in this state, but in the country — and many street-art legends have made their mark at CRUSH, including Tats Cru, Woes, David Shillinglaw, Lauren YS, Max Sansing, Dulk 1, Blaine Fontana, Birdcap, Scribe, Jose Mertz, Sense, Rodwasworld, Elle Street Art, Shalak Attack and Bruno. The RiNo Arts District is helping out with this year's CRUSH, which starts with a free bash at 5 p.m. Monday, September 11; find out more here.

Two new murals have been created along the Cherry Creek trail.
Two new murals have been created along the Cherry Creek trail.
Lindsey Bartlett

Best New Street Art
Cherry Creek Trail

Denver’s been blessed with great street art over the past few years, thanks in part to Denver Arts & Venue’s Urban Arts Fund, led by Mary Valdez, which pairs paid artists with walls all over the city: under Globeville viaducts, on the sides of RiNo buildings and, last year, along the Cherry Creek Trail. This urban gallery is too impressive to whip past on a bicycle, though. You need to be able to walk between pieces and stop to study such marvels as the ode to Denver created by Nigel Penhale, and “City of the Sun,” a deep-blue and gold mural by Colorado mandala artist Gemma Danielle that caught the eye of Americans for Arts.

Art by Travis Gillan.EXPAND
Art by Travis Gillan.
Kenzie Bruce

Best New Urban-Art Project
’Duct Work
2336 East 46th Avenue

There’s been a lot of ugly talk about the plan to replace the crumbling I-70 viaduct. But it inspired something beautiful in 2016, and again in 2017: ’Duct Work, a project that put dozens of street artists to work creating murals under the viaduct at 46th Avenue and York Street. The viaduct is slated for demolition by 2018, but in the meantime, it’s a great urban canvas. “We want to make sure we get the whole viaduct painted eventually, so we’re going to have lots of chances for more artists,” says organizer Kendall Peterson of CIG, who worked with the Colorado Department of Transportation, Urban Arts Fund and North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative to create this massive urban-art project, curated by renowned local artist Yiannis Bellis. Contributors to the mural include Thomas Evans, Ricks, East, Jolt, Tuke One, Robin Munro, Jesse Frazier, Patrick Kane McGregor, Koko Bayer, Chris Haven, Thomas Scharfenberg, Sandra Fettingis, Paige Madison and many more; enjoy their work while you can.

For more of the Best of Denver, check out our 2017 edition.

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