Art

Marijuana Art Show Kicks Off River's Grand Opening in RiNo

River, a new bar at 3759 Chestnut Street, is ready to show off local artists.
River, a new bar at 3759 Chestnut Street, is ready to show off local artists. Courtesy of Kourisa CdeBaca
River, a new music, art and cocktail venue in RiNo, is finally set to open at 3759 Chestnut Street after a long delay — and the grand opening's theme is a perfect fit for the bar's late arrival.

The colorful new spot will open on Saturday, September 11, with How We Roll, a cannabis and stoner art show featuring around thirty artists, live music, a silent disco and food trucks. According to venue founder Kourisa CdeBaca, it will be the first of many art-themed shows and gatherings at River, which occupies the former location of a longtime dive, the Welcome Inn.

CdeBaca announced her plan for River in February, after leasing the property from a relative who owns the land. "It's an amazing opportunity, and I'm ready to turn this place around," she said at the time.

Nearly seven months later, CdeBaca is now ready to show off the transformation. She reached out to local artists to help spruce up the building and hired a curator with plans to hold new exhibitions on the first Friday of every month. Fam Bam Productions will help plan the shows as well as daytime events such as yoga and wellness classes and podcast recordings.


"To say we're an artists' bar is an understatement, because not all artists paint," she explains.

For the inaugural show, River recruited such local artists as Matador, Patrick McGregor, Rob Dog Exclusive, Mythik, Jbird, Zeek Vasquez, Omega Marcusus, Fractal Dabber, 2Tongues and many more; some of CdeBaca's work will also be displayed. Pieces include homages to smoking, acrylic paintings of Scooby-Doo and Clifford the Big Red Dog, and a hilarious piece of South Park's Towelie by Matador. Guests will be able to purchases pieces from the participating artists.

"We left it up to the artists to do this however they want, but most of them use spray paint, hand paint, and we have some photographers," she says.
click to enlarge Around thirty local artists are expected to participate in River's first exhibition, a cannabis art show. - COURTESY OF KOURISA CDEBACA
Around thirty local artists are expected to participate in River's first exhibition, a cannabis art show.
Courtesy of Kourisa CdeBaca
Although cannabis use isn't allowed at River, CdeBaca says the art show will kick off an ongoing relationship with Denver's cannabis space. She plans to host pot-industry mixers in the near future and is open to private events. River's opening menu will feature CBD mocktails and edibles, as well.

"Cannabis has always been something that's been friendly around here. Since we've been getting ready to open, we wanted it to be involved in what we do," she explains. "We're definitely open to working with the cannabis space."

Although River's original plans haven't totally panned out — CdeBaca initially wanted to open in April with a thirty-tap draught system — she's excited to share her cocktail-centric drink menu, the bar's ’60s and ’70s vibes, and some art that will be more permanently displayed throughout the property.

The September 11 launch party will have a silent disco, food trucks and various vendors in River's outside space, with live music inside, according to Fam Bam CEO Adrian Garcia. The food trucks and vendors will start setting up around noon, with music and the art show expected to begin around 6 p.m.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell