Following the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the subsequent protests that have followed — artists across the nation have used their talents to draw attention towards racial injustice. Here in Denver, various creatives have called for justice through chalk, drawings, street murals and more. If you have explored the streets of Denver lately, chances are you may have seen some of these pieces. Works in support of the movement continue to pop up daily — so keep an eye out on your next walk.
Spray Their Names
The Lowdown: “Spray Their Name” is an ongoing art project created by celebrated artists Hiero Veiga and Thomas “Detour” Evans. The project aims to paint murals in remembrance of victims of police brutality. A number of murals have already been created in the Denver area. Veiga and Evans painted a mural of George Floyd which is located at East Colfax Avenue and Race Street. Artist “Just” joined Veiga and Evans to create a work remembering Breonna Taylor — located near the patio of Stem Ciders on Walnut Street. Two other pieces — one featuring Atatiana Jefferson by Chelsea Lewinski and another featuring Elijah McClain by Veiga and Evans — can be found in an alley behind Epic Brewing Company on Walnut Street. Follow along with “Spray Their Name” on Instagram.
Black Love Mural Festival
The Lowdown: If you have strolled through Civic Center Park recently, you might have stumbled across artists working diligently in the Black Love Mural Festival. The project is the first of its kind — featuring a lineup of 20 black artists. The project was curated by IRL Art and Rob The Art Museum. Each mural is on a cube of black plywood, all of which are located at the bases of statues around the park. The festival features celebrated artists such as Aisha Renee, SpeakS, Keisha Marie and more. The project will stay up through June 30. Follow along with the festival on Instagram.
The Lowdown: Zada Gallery is an art agency with a mission to create murals in support of social equality around Denver. Two artists involved are aiming to do just that — Karlee Mariel and Armina Jusufagic. One mural painted by the duo features civil rights activist and professional football player Colin Kaepernick with the words “American Icon.” The other features George Floyd with the words “My daddy changed the world” — in reference to words spoken by Floyd’s daughter Gianna. The murals are on display at Broadway and 10th Avenue.
The Lowdown: If you keep walking past the murals from Karlee Mariel and Armina Jusufagic — you’ll find murals created by artist Julius, also known as Real. Real focuses mainly on graffiti art and incorporates his style in a couple of murals along Broadway and 10th Avenue. One mural is inspired by American singer Lauryn Hill, while the other features the words “End Racism Together We Will Fight 4 Equality.” You can find Real on Instagram.
Chrysalis Margaret Conway
The Lowdown: Chrysalis Margaret Conway is a Denver based artist who specializes in portrait drawings and watercolor paintings. Conway has been working on raising awareness for the movement through her art — some of which are viewable outside the Buffalo Exchange in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. If you catch yourself strolling down 13th Avenue soon — make sure to stop outside the shop to admire Conway’s drawings. You can follow Conway on Instagram.
The Lowdown: Thyris ODUA is a Denver based tattoo artist and muralist. In collaboration with Gamma Gallery — he has painted a quote on a garage door on Brighton Boulevard in RiNo. The piece features a quote by novelist and activist James Baldwin. On top of painting the mural, Thyris ODUA also took a photo of three black men laying face down in front of it. He plans to give out free copies of the image to the black community and is also receiving donations to fund the project. You can follow along on his art journey on Instagram.
Katherine Ingui, Hosanna McGowen and Liv Saetta
The Lowdown: Following the news that the Denver Chalk Art Festival went virtual, artists Katherine Ingui, Hosanna McGowen and Liv Saetta worked together on a piece honoring George Floyd, Black Lives Matter and a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. The piece took two days and 16 hours to complete and was nearly ruined by a rainstorm — yet these artists persevered in order to unveil the colorful and moving piece of chalk art.
The Lowdown: Robyn Cochran-Ragland is an artist based out of Lakewood. Her main focus is the human figure and she composes her art from a blend of pencil, paints and pastel mediums. Recently, she has focused her work to remember victims of police brutality. So far, she has created works honoring George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and a piece featuring civil rights activist Al Sharpton. You can find more of Cochran-Ragland’s work on her Instagram.
The Lowdown: Brenden Matthews is a Denver based photographer who specializes in colorful photos that often feature people. Recently, he used his talents to honor victims of police brutality with his viral photo “UNARMED.” The photo features a black man wearing a sweatshirt with the word “UNARMED” seemingly being shot. Instead of blood, the photo features red smoke bombs to give a similar illusion. The photo has since been seen at protests across the country. You can follow Matthews on Instagram.
Black Lives Matter on Broadway
The Lowdown: Denver artist Adri Norris recently teamed up with street muralist Pat Milbery to create a large scale mural on Broadway. The city closed down a section of the street for a day while Norris, Milbery and 300 other artists worked together to finish the mural. The mural features the words “Black Lives Matter Remember This Time”. While the piece is only expected to last about 30 days due to traffic — Norris shared that the work is still important and hopes it inspires further legislation.