Except for the bustle of construction workers, the groups of people experiencing homelessness and a handful of joggers dodging between them, the streets of Denver are quiet.
But all around town, there are signs that neighbors are grateful for those essential workers who are risking their lives trying to keep everyone safe, healthy and fed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On a utility box near Colorado Boulevard and East Eighth Avenue, for example, some has painted "Thank You Helpers" in shades of blue and green.
This is probably not sanctioned street art. But while it's likely illegal, it's also an expression of gratitude from somebody with a paintbrush and a few colors to spare — the best kind of slapdash public art there is.
And it serves as a good reminder to graffiti artists who are seizing this opportunity to paint the town: If you're going to mark the city with illicit art, have a reason. Make this place — in a moment of utter despair — a little more beautiful. With most of Denver shuttered at home, create work that expresses gratitude for those who are risking their lives. Don't just scrawl your name with a sharpie; you can do that any old day. And above all, don't leave your message on a shuttered business or a home. Find a public space — or close enough — to decorate.
No, this isn't the prettiest street art in town. But it may be the kindest.
Send your pictures of COVID-19-themed graffiti and street art to [email protected]