Crush Walls Returning to RiNo in September

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
Crush Walls 2018 should crush it this year. On May 10, the RiNo Art District announced plans for the ninth annual urban-art festival, set for September 3 through September 9, and the setting of that announcement —
in the brand-new Ramble Hotel — showed just how far both Crush and RiNo itself have come.

What Denver graffiti artist Robin Munro started in 2010 as a gritty, unofficial event in the alleys of RiNo has become a 25-block celebration that will spill out of alleys onto streets and rooftops, with 77 "art activations."

In 2016, the district began working with Munro on Crush. After the 2017 event "completely exploded," RiNo Art District president Jamie Licko told the group, "We decided to bring Crush under the RiNo organizing umbrella. We're totally committed to supporting local community, while also bringing national and international attention to RiNo."

click to enlarge Art has exploded around RiNo. - WESTWORD
Art has exploded around RiNo.
For this year's festival, Munro will be on the district's staff, curating seventy local artists who will be part of Crush Walls 2018. And the district has also brought in Carlo De Luca, owner of Station 16, the Montreal gallery that's working with the upcoming Source hotel, to steer the international angle. No matter where the participating artists are from, though, "all of the artists will be paid," said De Luca, to applause from the audience.

To make that possible, the district is putting $250,000 of the money raised through the RiNo BID to the project, and that's just a fraction of the final budget that Licko anticipates putting to Crush, which will keep growing as more events are added, from lectures to a street festival. "We want it to be 365 days a year," she said. But then, that's only appropriate in a district that bills itself as "where art is made."

Thanks to dedicated street artists, art already abounds throughout red-hot RiNo, on buildings old and new. But now they've got a chance to get an official commission...and make some money.

From now through June 15, the district is taking names of interested Colorado artists working in all fields. A committee of long-time local artists and community leaders will score the applications and make recommendations to the Crush Wall 2018 event producers, who will make final recommendations on artist participation and placement. The final list will be announced by July 10.

To find out more and sign up, go to
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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun