Is Spray Paint Spawning Social Change In Denver?

By Carrie Saldo

One-time hot spots for gang-related tagging in Denver are now home to vibrant public murals. The challenge to clean-up the streets, and more specifically public and private buildings riddled with tagging led to the pairing of the two and the creation of a public art initiative known as the Urban Arts Fund.

Once tagging magnets, the large cement retaining walls at Brown Elementary School are now covered with colorful and quirky murals. Artist “Jolt” infused this graffiti-style mural with helpful student “to-dos.” 

Credit Carrie Saldo / Arts District

How do you define community? Graffiti artist Ratha Sok, helped the students at Brown celebrate its diversity with this mural. Among those that make Brown Brown, an octopus, teddy bear, rabbit, flying fish, snail, and a few humans too.

Credit Carrie Saldo / Arts District

 Some graffiti artists have been accused of "ghettoizing" neighborhoods where they painted aerosol murals. But those who spoke to Fa'al Ali for this video about the Urban Arts Fund explained they paint murals to add thoughtful, bright works to their communities.

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