Best New Public Art
Evan Semón

If you're driving along East 39th Avenue heading to Steele Street, you'll see a curling ribbon of steel swirling in an arc overhead. No, it's not an errant part of the Interstate 70 project; it's a great piece of public art installed in 2021. Denver Public Art commissioned the work from acclaimed sculptor DeWitt Godfrey, who took a stark departure from the stacked, conical works he's known for to create this cascading sculpture. But what makes the work so compelling is its metaphorical acknowledgment of its surroundings: The metal materials point to the industrial history of its environment, while the structure serves as a portal to discovering the potential of your surroundings.

denverpublicart.org/public-arts/eastgate

Sure, it's nice to stroll the streets of Denver, whether you're on an urban hike or just a mindless meander, and see all the wonderful street art and murals that grace this city's walls. But it's also nice to know what you're looking at, the background of the artist who created the piece, and the history of the neighborhood in which you're walking. And that's what the Denver Graffiti Tour delivers, at 10 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday, along with an acknowledgement of the gentrification issues that many associate with the murals. As co-owner Erin Spradlin told us last year, "We noticed it and were really bothered by that, so we started to speak about it in the tour and noticed people really responded to that."

denvergraffititour.com

While RiNo may be known for its splashy murals, the most compelling alley gallery is in the Golden Triangle. Right behind Stoney's in the 1100 block between Lincoln and Broadway, you can still find work produced for the 2018 Colorcon by some of Denver's finest muralists, including A.L. Grime, who used her signature abstraction to paint the black-and-white face of a girl emerging from meticulous line work. Head down the alley and you'll see an icy blue cave by Kendall Rose, stylized and colorful portraits by the Worst Crew, a bright iguana climbing a wall covered in painted leaves by the Designosaur, and a detailed mandala by Damon Soule.

Best New Mural
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.

algrimeart.com

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!

galakticgang.com
Best Art Collective Social Media Account
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.

Art Students League of Denver

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.

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