Denver River North( RiNo) Street Art/ Murals, Denver Art Museum and other public art, Boulder Dushanbe Tea House from Denver trip February 2019
My husband and I traveled to Denver so he could participate in a Doomtown tournament. While he gamed for 2 days I went out to get interact with art in Denver.
We did get to spend the day together in Boulder and attempted to get to the top of the first few Flatiron Mountains but without spikes on my hiking boots I kept falling and eventually we had to go back down so I didn't get seriously injured. ( part of the way down I butt skied) We walked around on Pearl st for a bit and then went to have tea at the Boulder Dushanbe tea house which was imported piece by and piece from Tajikistan and put together on site. It's the only tea house of it's kind in the United States. It's definitely a magical place. If you're ever in Boulder make sure you visit, the tea was as excellent as the surroundings.
The very next day, in 30 degree weather which was like spring compared to the weather I was used to, I went to explore the street art of River North (RiNo) district of Denver. I walked mostly on Larimer st but wandered wherever I saw more color from afar in and around buildings and alleyways brought a feast for the eyes. I spent about 2 hours walking around and counted over 50 works of art in a 10 block radius. I'm positive I didn't see all of the art tucked carefully in every nook and cranny but what I did see was amazing. Here are some of my favorites.
I love the creative treatment of all the surfaces. The eyes of the birds in the mural on the top right are actual windows. The knives and tools of the mural in the top center I found out are there because a handyman inhabits the space. The telephone pole in front of the mural also gets a coat of paint to blend in. The robots in the top left were so very curious about what was happening down the street they were peeking out from a door. There's a playfulness, whimsy and carefree in all of this street art that is more comforting to me. It's out in the open there isn't a rest in between murals for your eyes to rest and that's the point. This art cannot be contained by stark white spaces it's meant to interact and play with it's surroundings or help you see opportunity to where it didn't exist as a garage door or brick wall. It's a journey to multitude of worlds.
Below is my absolute favorite mural of this area and probably most captures the spirit of RiNo
That night we ventured downtown once again to eat at Domo an authentic Japanese restaurant for the 2nd time of our trip. This time with friends and when we left we were in a full blown snowstorm but as Midwesterners we still had time to stop for the famous VooDoo Donuts before we drove back through the blizzard to the hotel.
Photos above at Domo Japanese Restaurant with the best sushi ( Wankosushi) I have ever had. Bottom center is a duct tape mural in VooDoo Donuts. Bottom right is the Hibiscus frosting donut I ate, so good!
The very next day I ventured downtown again to visit the Denver Art Museum. The Harrison building ( top left) actually hangs over the street which is crazy. The other building that is apart of the Denver Art Museum is being remodeled so I saw a smaller selection of the collection the museum has. I could have seen the Dior exhibit if I had known enough in advance the whole weekend was sold out.
This is a highlight of what I saw. It was a pleasure to see that along with museum admission people could dabble in printing n house by scratching into styrofoam plate and then printing them ( top right, second row left). Jordan Casteel's exhibit Returning the Gaze was treat. ( second row middle and right, third row left) Her depictions of people she saw in her Bronx community was so inspiring, transforming people often overlooked on the street into characters of great esteem. She approached people to have conversations before taking photos that she would create paintings from. This gave me so many ideas to incorporate into a collaborative art class I will be teaching over the summer. From the Museum's collection Stampede is an exhibit featuring artwork that contain aminals in several categories. It was fun to see a Nick Cave piece( third row middle) in the Imagined animals section and always a pleasure to see more of Deborah Butterfield's driftwood horse family ( there's one at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art) ( third row right). My favorite Julie Buffalohead piece in the Eyes On exhibit was Six- pack colonialism ( bottom left) with powerful imagery of colonial ships emerging from plastic 6- pack plastic rings. I wanted to hang out in the interactive insect nursery Incubation Effect by Nicole Anona Banowetz and squish the inflated sculpture for much longer but I wanted to see more of the city
After wandering around the Denver Public Library for a bit I went outside and heard loud music and announcing which turned out to be The World Cup of ice climbing so I took a bit of time watching the last of the women compete before walking down 16th street mall on my way to see the big blue bear looking into the Convention Center and walking back to head back to the hotel and relax.
I packed a bunch of art seeing and culture into this short trip I hope to go back and visit other areas of this culturally rich city. I miss Denver already.