Tyler Vitello

For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month last year, the RiNo Art District commissioned a mural from local muralist Casey Kawaguchi and Nepali artist Imagine876. Using their signature styles — Kawaguchi typically paints greyscale images of Asian women while Imagine applies graffiti techniques and mixes in Sanskrit references — the two artists painted a mysterious woman in black and white, with a bright-orange-and-cobalt veil over her head and spread across the lower half of her face. As she gazes at you over that veil, her hands are pressed together in prayer. Don't miss it.

Ally Grimm, also known as A.L. Grime, has been painting up Denver for years, and hers are some of the most recognizable murals in the city. With abstraction, intricate line work and graffiti influences, these murals are where fine art and street art converge. Grime also does paintings, illustrations and digital work, and has delved into the innovative realm of virtual reality and NFTs. Follow her: You won't be disappointed.


The Galaktic Gang, founded by Cory Ponz, Kyle Morton, Jason Turnquist, Travis Delly and Chris Dyer, is riding the promising wave of NFTs. If you were at the ETHDenver cryptocurrency conference, you might have seen Dyer live-painting, or perhaps you attended the art collective's party held in tandem with that event. Galaktic Gang plans to hold more parties, including virtual ones, which have already encouraged thousands of visitors to enter the Galaktic metaverse and virtually experience live painting and even contribute to the collective's art. Inventive and ahead of the curve, the Gang employs NFTs to fund its collective, whose goal is to use cryptocurrency, NFTs and the metaverse to embolden those who buy in to embark on a path of spiritual awakening. Psychedelic!

Evan Semón

The nonprofit Denver Art Society, located in the Art District on Santa Fe, has one of the most active Instagram accounts of any art space in the city. While it posts almost daily, each First Friday the account comes alive with story videos showcasing the crowded gallery, as well as the concerts and theater events it hosts there. The self-described "art community co-op built by artists" provides a look at Denver art through the eyes of local artists, so anyone who follows knows what's coming next.

Erie-based fine-art intaglio photogravure printer Jon Lybrook isn't so famous, but because of the quality of his work and his safer and more sustainable techniques, he sometimes assists people who are in creating high-quality photo portfolios. Most recently, Tony Levin — the in-demand session bassist and on-and-off member of King Crimson since 1981, who is also a photographer — sought help from Lybrook to turn some of his favorite King Crimson tour shots into a limited-edition fine-art print portfolio. The completed prints, available as a boxed collection or individually, were released in March. Rock on.

A blending of worlds occurs inside Mirus: the engaging world of the white-wall gallery — clean, open and intentionally sparse — and the entrancing world of the nightclub, with color-changing lights, a live DJ and, of course, a full bar. Mirus Gallery & Art Bar is a concept originally executed in San Francisco by curator and art dealer Paul Hemming; Denver is its second location. Here, rotating exhibitions of both solo and group shows include contemporary artists from all over the world. Grab a cocktail while you check out current exhibition SUPER FUTURE, which explores the intersection of art and technology via NFTs, virtual reality and interactive digital art.

The Art Students League of Denver is an art school for people who don't have the time, or the need, to go to art school. Instead, ASLD caters to anyone with an art jones, from hobbyists and talented youngsters to fine artists looking to brush up on or learn new techniques. The league employs up to 100 local artists as instructors in the beautiful, nineteenth-century brick-and-sandstone Sherman School building, using its spacious classrooms as studios equipped with specialized tools of the trade. ASLD also houses a gallery, throws a legendary Summer Art Market and supports a community filled by artists and the public alike.

Entrepreneur Skye Barker Maa has been activating culture-expanding spaces in Stanley Marketplace since 2018, including Neighborhood Music, a kids' music school that's grown to serve a huge student body, and the newly opened Sky Bar. But it's Factory Five Five, an intergenerational school teaching theater, film and photography at a nearby converted warehouse, and Factory Fashion, which teaches sewing, fashion and design at the Stanley, that have become impressive creative incubators that not only teach those who want to learn, but shares the students' efforts through plays, fashion shows and other realizations.

Michael Rieger takes multi-tasking to a whole new level as an artist, photographer, teacher, community arts activist and art director of the Denver Chalk Art Festival. Lapis Gallery, a staple in the Tennyson Street First Friday Art Walks, is home to Rieger's many artistic mediums, including fine-art photography, etchings, drawings, pastels, prints, sculpture and beautifully handmade ceramic dishes and mugs. In addition to the gallery space, Lapis offers full interior design-and-build services, custom furniture and event photography services.

Art historian Lauren Hartog and artist Derrick Velasquez (who's done this sort of thing before in his own basement) teamed up a year ago to start and curate their well-named Friend of a Friend Gallery, an art space hiding away in a room at the impressive 1904 Evans School building. Exhibitions can be hard to find and are only open by appointment following their receptions, but it's well worth the effort to find work by these artists, who fly both under the radar and through the clouds above it.


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