Murals, Murals Everywhere

One brush stroke at a time. That's how the Santa Fe Arts District went from being a crumbling old commercial strip a decade ago to becoming the center of Denver's visual arts community. So when gallery owners and studio renters started looking for a way to spruce up the ol' neighborhood for Denver Arts Week (October 5 through 12), they decided to tackle urban scourges of tagging and blight the best way they knew how: They walked outside and picked out some walls.

Since last weekend, more than 100 artists, from preteens to professionals, have added color to the urban landscape as part of Art From the People: A Mural Beautification Project. Although this year they took on eight large walls in the alley that runs on the east side of Santa Fe Boulevard between Eighth and Tenth Avenues, organizers hope to expand the project to ugly walls throughout the area. "This is just another way of making the arts district an interesting place to be," says Judy Weaver of Nine10Arts, who helped pull together various groups to paint.

Helping beautify the area are students from KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy and the West High Mural Club, as well as longtime artists like Tommy Nahulu and Frank Garza. The street-cred department will be headed by graffiti muralists from Guerrilla Garden, who've been working with youngsters who live at nearby Denver Housing Authority facilities. Check out the alleyway results tonight on your way to the Micro Business Development building, 700 Kalamath Street, where the Arts Districts Awards will recognize the best exhibitions from the past month. Jazzman Christopher Lawhead performs starting at 6 p.m. RSVP to [email protected] or go to for more details.
Starts: Oct. 12. Daily, 2007

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Jared Jacang Maher