A new mural graces the side of Higher Grade’s dispensary at 1269 Elati Street, replacing a painting that had honored the Denver Broncos Super Bowl championship in 2016.
The new painting, completed by Denver artists TukeOne and Chad Bolsinger on October 7, features a fantasy landscape with tropical trees set in front of snowcapped mountains, distant pine forests and neat rows of agricultural fields.
Higher Grade moved into the building that had previously held two other cannabis dispensaries — Advanced Medical Alternatives and Damian Marley's Stony Hill. By the time Higher Grade moved in, the not-so-flattering portrait of Super Bowl XVI MVP Von Miller had been there for several years, according to Higher Grade brand manager Brittany Brewer, in full view of traffic on busy West 13th Avenue.
“Basically, we inherited the building with the Super Bowl Von Miller mural on the side, and didn’t necessarily love it, and wanted to switch it up,” Brewer says. “We just wanted something that was going to lift up the neighborhood and make it really warm, inviting and exciting.”
The dispensary contacted Robert Gray, curator of Rob the Art Museum, to connect them with local artists to paint the mural. Gray had commissioned murals for cannabis dispensaries before and is well connected in Denver’s street-art scene. After working with Higher Grade to craft the mural concept, Gray contacted Chad Bolsinger and TukeOne to paint the mural.
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“When I first reached out to them, I was like, ‘What is Higher Grade about? What does that mean?'” he remembers. "The way I took it was, ‘How can I get a higher grade of life? What in life makes you have a higher mentality, a higher spirituality?' — that sort of thing.”
The mountains, waterfall, agricultural fields and leafy rainforest trees are meant to bring viewers to that elevated state of being, Gray explains: “I just found it to be a very soothing and therapeutic place, and that’s the reason I requested all the earthy wholeness and natural holistic-feeling types of things in there."
Higher Grade is happy with the new look of the brick wall. “We absolutely love it. It's everything we hoped for and more,” Brewer says. “It’s just a good vibe, and it's super bright. I actually feel like it makes our building feel bigger and taller, and it’s just really beautiful.”
Artist Chad Bolsinger also painted two murals in Westword’s new office. Check them out here.