Reader: It's Great to See Artists in RiNo, Rather Than Drunk Frat BoysEXPAND
Kenzie Bruce

Reader: It's Great to See Artists in RiNo, Rather Than Drunk Frat Boys

Crush Walls 2018 is under way, bigger and better than ever, filling the RiNo Art District with blocks of fresh art as well as other colorful activities. Founded by artist Robin Munro in 2009, Crush is now produced by the RiNo Art District, but Munro is still very much involved, as are dozens of local artists and others from around the globe.

The festivities continues through September 9, but readers are already weighing in about the changes in RiNo...and our coverage of Crush.

Says Joe:

You might as well call this RiNoWord.

Asks Chris: 

What does RiNo mean and where did it come from? 

Replies Mike:

RiNo = RiNot ???? This is what happens when all this cute gets too popular ????

Adds Aaron:

I was just thinking RiNo doesn't have enough places to get drunk.

Replies Susan:

I have been to Crush for three days running. It's great to see artists in action, rather than just drunk frat boys.

Then there's this from Sarah: 

Arts districts are exploiting artists more than anyone in Denver. They buddy up to big money, gentrify neighborhoods, price residents and artists out, then create a buzz to drive business to for-profit shops and then still take a large percentage of artists sales or expect them to do work for free for “exposure.” Denver is not an arts-friendly city. Case in point: RiNo/Five Points/Now basically Zeppelin-town.

Counters Mary: 

Crush Walls is putting the color back in Colorado.

But Eldon concludes:   

I was raised in Denver from '79-'89 and moved back for a brief period '99-'01. It was always home and while visiting friends it was nice to see the improvements to the zoo, art museum, downtown and just about everywhere. Now come Bay Area-like rent increases.

The innovative, fun, artsy, eclectic people who started businesses in Denver, who added to the overall cool vibe, is forever changed. In the past, no matter the changes Denver went through, it still felt like home. Raising rents on local businesses is what people did on the coasts. Exploiting local merchants was always a Brooklyn, Harlem, Williamsburg, Tenderloin, Echo Park thing. It was never a Denver thing, and Denverites could dismiss such classless behavior.

Now Denver is going down the rent-gap vortex like London, LA, NYC, Seattle, San Francisco and Toronto. It will destroy the soul of a city I've defended all my life all around the world.

Keep reading for more on Crush Walls, and other changes in RiNo.

Reader: It's Great to See Artists in RiNo, Rather Than Drunk Frat Boys
Jay Vollmar

"Taking It to the Streets: A Dozen Great Denver Murals"

Mural by Jason Garcia
Mural by Jason Garcia
Kenzie Bruce

"Crush Walls Is Ready to Crush It: Here's the Breakdown"

New mural by Remote.EXPAND
New mural by Remote.
Kenzie Bruce

"Crush Walls 2018: Always Take the Alleys"

Shepard Fairey's new mural in RiNoEXPAND
Shepard Fairey's new mural in RiNo
Kenzie Bruce

"Crush Walls 2018: The Walls Are Changing"

For the record, Crush Walls does pay the artists who are participating, but as Michael Paglia notes in his companion piece to "Taking It to the Streets," his guide to twelve great murals in Denver, not all street-art projects are as laudable. Especially not those that tart up historic buildings.

That's not the case in RiNo, the nickname for what was once a dusty stretch of undistinguished warehouses and barren lots along the Platte River northeast of downtown, in what's officially the Five Points neighborhood but was called River North. The RiNo Art District was officially formed more than a dozen years ago, to recognize the artistic activity filling many of those warehouses, which were far more notable for their cheap rent than their architecture.

That cheap rent is long gone, as are many of the warehouses, replaced by massive apartment buildings and other complexes that are quickly filling every still-open lot. But the goal of encouraging art remains.

Have you been to Crush Walls 2018? What do you think of the art? The changing neighborhood? Share your thoughts in a comment, or email editorial@westword.com.

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