Best Secret Corner in the 40 West Arts District 2022 | Vance Street Art Hub | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

The Vance Street Art Hub, anchored by coffeehouse/cafe Mint & Serif, isn't so much an arty block as it is a little taste of old Lakewood's mom-and-pop hospitality, though the cafe does host art exhibitions. It's joined in the area by tattoo shop Solstice Ink, an outlet for anime fans called Otaku Attic, Purple Greens Vape & Glass and, inside Mint & Serif, All Its Own, a purveyor of succulents, air plants and gifts. Stop by on First Friday, when the gallery receptions down the street become packed.

In the age of TikTok and selfie museums, Selfie@Stanley aims for a better selfie experience. This one comes with more than 25 selfie stations, complete with backdrops and props to titillate imaginations, encourage family reunions and birthday parties, and simply get friends together for an afternoon of stupid, silly fun for $20 a head. And because it's located at Stanley Marketplace, the fun doesn't end when selfie-snappers emerge: There's food and drink, shopping and people-watching waiting.

Diving into the entrepreneurial market can be scary for a newbie, but Diana Sabreen has a coaching technique that's so fun, clients don't even notice how much they're learning. Sabreen's Boulder-based creative incubator, the Big Dream, not only offers one-on-one consultations to get you up to speed, but it also hosts group playshops and retreats that immerse people in activities that demand creative thinking and encourage team-building and interaction with fellow seekers. Coming up this summer in Boulder: the Imagination Collaboration creativity accelerator, with speakers, workshops, performances and more.
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.

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."

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.

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.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of