Breathing New Life Into the Denver Art Scene

Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe is sure to put the Denver art scene on the map.

Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe may be one of Colorado’s best kept secrets. And we here at Asian Avenue Magazine don’t mean to be gossipers, but we feel it’s our duty to expose this homegrown treasure to our audience. For all of our readers who don’t know, the Santa Fe Art District stretches through five blocks, running from 5th and Santa Fe up to 10th and Santa Fe. Within this five block stretch there are over 30 different art galleries as well a handful of restaurants, museums, and specialty shops. The Art District on Santa Fe has generated a lot of local buzz and is starting to gain national recognition, too. It was recently referenced in Sunset Magazine and named as one of the top five New Art Districts in America by Travel and Leisure.
It wasn’t long ago when this section of Santa Fe was dirty, run down, and boarded up. For many years the only “art” you’d see on these streets were scribbles of graffiti snaking up the stucco buildings and the cracked cement sidewalks. Members of the Denver Art District on Santa Fe have come along way, cleaning and shaping the district into what it is today. The Art District wasn’t alone in cleaning up the area. Existing organizations like NEWED and the Maintenance District helped beautify the sidewalks and buildings. One can’t help but be amazed at the progress they have made.
The times when broken liquor bottles and empty cigarette cartons littered the streets have long been forgotten. Today, the only spray-painted graffiti you’ll find in this district is hanging in the walls of a couple New Age studios. But remember, this graffiti was painted by dedicated artists, not by the hands of bored and delinquent teenagers.
Outside the studios, beautiful hand-painted murals dot the landscape. One particular painting is located on the East side of Santa Fe between 5th and 6th. The mural depicts pink pig-like people floating around in a cartoonish castle village amidst a gang of mint green space aliens. The mural portrays a LooneyToonish vibe that appeals to children as well as adults with youthful spirits.

If you would like to read this article in its entirety, be sure to check out the October issue.

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