DENVER — The trek between east and west of the RiNo neighborhoods takes people through the unsightly, unlit and potentially dangerous 38th Street underpass.
It has been dark, dreary and disregarded over time. It’s called a “sore spot” in their otherwise flourishing community.
“It’s kind of a problematic underpass,” said Tracy Weil, co-founder of RiNo Arts District. “One of our board members was actually hurt riding his bicycle underneath and it kind of alerted us to the kind of problems of the underpass.”
So volunteers decided to do something about it by transforming the ugly underpass into a safer link between neighborhoods.
It connects Brighton Boulevard and Walnut Street. It’s now getting a nearly two-block mural created by artist Pat Milbery.
“The biggest challenge so far for the size of this mural was the preparation,” Milbery said. “The texture of the cement was real gritty and dry and porous.”
The wall had so many years of grit on it, it took hours of cleaning and then 35 gallons of conditioner just to get ready to paint it.
Over the next few months, volunteers will be adding lighting to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Nearby Blue Moon Brewing chipped in $20,000 to help offset the costs.
“The power of art and creativity really transforms communities,” said Gloria Schoch with Blue Moon. “And being able to mobilize the community, mobilize volunteers to come out here … pick up paint brushes … is really exciting for us.”
The mural joins surrounding art popping up all around the RiNo district, which was an industrial hub for more than a century.