Over the last decade, the street art festival in RiNo called CRUSH WALLS (formerly Colorado Crush and then just CRUSH) has covered the neighborhood with original murals and graffiti writing from local artists and visiting ones. It’s become a hotspot for appreciation of street art, not only locally, but also nationally and internationally. People visit Denver and want to experience the proliferation of public art on the streets in RiNo as one of their wish-list destinations. Starting today, CRUSH is accepting applications from artists of all mediums (read: not only spray paint) to be part of the 2019 festival. The request for proposal is open until May 5 at 5 p.m., on this website.
Last year, the festival reached a pinnacle, commissioning over 80 murals throughout 30 blocks in one week with some big-name painters included in the roster. Although a lot of the buzz surrounded the presence of well-known street artist Shepard Fairey and his entourage, local artists found their own way to shine. Lindee Zimmer painted a huge mural of a woman, standing as a guardian over the entrance to RiNo at Larimer and Broadway; the Birdseed Collective maintained their place in the CRUSH headquarters parking lot; MPEK managed to paint two pieces, one with Robin Munro; Pher01 and Brian Scott Hampton took over the alley behind Denver Central Market for the second time in CRUSH history and Jeremy Burns painted a two-sided mural near Brighton in a similar style to his iconic two-sided face on Larimer between 27th and 28th.
2018 was also the first year CRUSH experienced a change in management and organization, with founder Robin Munro partnering with the RiNo Art District and Project 16 (the latter based out of Canada) to expand the influence and impact of the event. Instead of a week of artists painting walls and alleys, there were dozens of other activations, events, artist talks and ways to experience the festival. Artists, especially emerging artists, were expected to apply to participate, rather than rely on invitations or word-of-mouth. When the application period was over, there were nearly 300 applicants, although less than 100 were accepted. This year, the application process will be almost entirely the same including the guideline that all applicants must be Colorado residents or partnered with a Colorado resident, to apply.
The aim behind requiring Colorado residency is to ensure that local artists have a say in who is invited to paint alongside them. Due to this guideline, the hopes are that established local artists will have a bigger voice and the opportunity to help curate the festival.
Once all applications are received, a selection committee made of community leaders and established local artists will score and make recommendations for who should be involved in CRUSH and where they should paint. On June 11, the final artist lineup will be announced.