Artists will bring light to the once dark and uninviting 38th Street underpass, that connects the Cole and Five Points neighborhoods with Globeville and Elyria-Swansea, starting November 30, when the RiNo Arts District will celebrate the completion of a two-year transformation of the space.
A light installation, created by artists Katy Flaccavento and Zachary Christopher of Knomad Colab and funded by a P.S. You Are Here grant through Denver Arts & Venues, will complement 996 feet of murals designed by Pat Milbery and Jason Graves of So-Gnar Creative Division and painted by hundreds of residents. One mural on the north side of the underpass was done in 2016, and one on the south side was completed earlier this month.
Flaccavento and Christopher were limited in where they could create the installation, called "Arabesque," because the bridge and its walls are both owned by Union Pacific Railroad and cannot be touched. The two ultimately lit the space from the railing beneath the underpass.
“'Arabesque' is the culmination of many individual paths woven together to create a unified fabric, a whimsical experience, and a safe and inviting passageway for community members and visitors alike,” says Flaccavento in a November 29 press release.
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Both the lighting installation and the murals play off the gritty, metallic elements of the underpass and employ bright colors.
"We focused on taking the design from the actual railing into account," says Milbery. "The juxtaposition between the gritty freight line [and] the bright colors in the murals and lights is noticeable."
The public is invited to join the unveiling on Thursday, November 30, with a program at 4 p.m. in the parking lot across from the Butcher Block Cafe, and the lighting reveal will take place at sundown. For more information, visit the RiNo Arts District online.