Arts & Culture
Arts & Culture in Southeast Denver
Public art in Southeast Denver has increased thanks to Denver Arts & Venues, the arts & culture work group and community volunteers. Our Arts & Culture Working Group helps identify public art opportunities in the district, manages the South by Southeast (SxSE) community art project, and promotes art & culture in Council District 4. To join the working group or to provide art project ideas, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Urban Arts Fund
The Urban Arts Fund is a graffiti prevention and youth development program funded through Denver Arts & Venues which facilitates the creation of new murals in perpetually vandalized areas throughout the City and County of Denver. The Urban Arts Fund provides access to positive, creative experiences for youth and transforms dilapidated areas into well-tended and active community gathering spaces.
High Line Canal Murals
Father and son muralists, Jerry and Jay Jaramillo, received two Urban Arts Fund awards in 2017 and 2018 to paint murals on the east and west side of the High Line Canal and I-25 tunnel. The murals represent the natural life on and around the High Line Canal.
Bible Park Mural at the Goldsmith Gulch Tunnel
Artist, Sofia Ramirez, transformed the southside of the underpass into a bright color-popping mural for the bikers, runners and walkers using the path. She has applied for another Urban Arts Fund grant in 2020 to paint a complimentary mural on the northside.
Joe Shoemaker School "Birdwalk" Mural
Teacher Annie Holyfield and her K/1 students painted a mural in the Cherry Creek Trail underpass at Havana to raise awareness of the birds that share their naturalized space near their school and the Cherry Creek Trail. See their inspiring proposal video.
Four Harmonious Friends Mural
Artists Tsogo Mijid and Eriko Tsogo from the Mongolian Culture and Heritage Center, created The Four Harmonious Friends of Colorado mural at the Hampden Branch Library. The mural was inspired by the Buddhist myth of the Four Harmonious Friends which is one of the Jātaka tales. The artists collaborated with students from the Uran Biir Colorado Mongolian Art School. Taking inspiration from the folklore, students designed and painted characters on the mural based on themes of unity, diversity, and friendship.
Under Denver’s Cultural Plan, IMAGINE 2020, Mayor Michael B. Hancock challenges city council districts to infuse arts and culture into their district during Denver Arts Week in November. See below for some of the projects created in southeast Denver with IMAGINE 2020 funding.
50 State Animal Light Boxes
Local Artist, Andrew Woodward, has been wrapping light boxes in southeast Denver with colorful animals with graphic back grounds from his 50 State Animal paintings. View more pictures of the boxes and a map of their locations in southeast Denver.
Master carver, Faye Braaten, known as Chainsaw Mama, carved a beautiful old Cottonwood stump at the south bridge in Bible Park into a whimsical fox and woodland scene.
P.S. You Are Here (PSYAH)
PSYAH is a citywide creative placemaking and neighborhood revitalization program that cultivates collaborative, community-led outdoor projects in Denver’s public spaces. The Thomas Jefferson High School Art Bus Shelter project (bus shelter, tile mural and bench) was the recipient of the 2018 Mayor’s Design Awards.
Thomas Jefferson High School
Art Bus Shelter
An art bus shelter was constructed at Hampden & Ivanhoe to display the art of Thomas Jefferson High School students and to provide shelter to people waiting for the bus. The Thomas Jefferson High School Parent Teacher Organization received funding for the project by applying for the PSYAH grant awarded by Denver Arts & Venues.
Art Bus Shelter Retaining Wall Mural
As part of the art bus shelter project, Thomas Jefferson High School students designed a mural for the retaining wall. Community members painted the tiles to create the mural at the 2017 South by Southeast festival.
Thomas Jefferson art students refurbished and painted the old bus stop bench. The bench represents the TJ Spartans school pride and the talent and creativity of the students. It now sits on the north side of Hampden facing the art bus shelter.
1% for Public Art
Denver’s Public Art Program
was established in 1988 as an Executive Order under Mayor Federico Peña. The order, enacted into Ordinance by Denver City Council in 1991, directs that 1% of any capital improvement project over $1 million undertaken by the City, be set aside for the inclusion of art. Over the past 30 years these artworks, along with the historic and donated works of art, make up the City’s Public Art Collection. The Public Art Collection has expanded the opportunity for Denver residents to experience art in public places.
Talk to the Birds
A new public art sculpture, Talk to the Birds, by artists John King and Olsen Barrett, was installed along the Cherry Creek Trail at Hampden & Dartmouth in the spring of 2022. The moving sculpture simulates the solar system’s journey through the galactic spiral. Students from Shoemaker Elementary helped design the birds incorporated in the sculpture.
We are Future Strata
People who use the High Line Canal Trail at S. Colorado Boulevard and E. Hampden Ave. will notice a cluster of three large granite boulders on the west side of the underpass painted with brightly colored stripes depicting strata. We Are Future Strata is symbolic of a post-human future where the man-made environment has become strata in stone. Comparing a geologic time scale with a human time scale reminds us of the temporary nature of existence. As Mary Oliver asked in The Summer Day, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do / With your one wild and precious life?”
“Welcome to Denver” Mural
(off-ramp from I-225 at Yosemite)
Cherry Creek III Neighborhood President, Don Ireland, had a vision to brighten this off-ramp for drivers arriving to Denver. Don raised the funds, selected the artist and--with the help of his wife, Lynne--landscaped the area with native plants.
“First Rose” at Eisenhower Park
A freestanding bench and windscreen with four images each representing qualities of Mamie Eisenhower (first lady) who grew up in Denver after the age of seven: a lady’s fan, a landscape with water activity, a five-pointed star, and a heart of roses. Artist: Susan Cooper
Untitled (gold pieces) at Hampden Branch Library
Artist Vincent O’Brien
“First Round” at Kennedy Golf Course
Figurative sculptural design for the tee markers at the Kennedy Golf Course. The sculpture bench is meant to be humorous and entertaining for people sitting on it or standing around it. Artist: Joe Sam
Untitled (Wooden Arch) at Ross University Hills Library
Artist Wang Po Shu
"Cottonwood Critters" on the High Line Canal (near Holly and Eastman)
Master carver, Faye Braaten, known as Chainsaw Mama, carved a beautiful old Cottonwood stump into a whimsical woodland scene.
New Cottonwood Tree Carving at Bible Park
Faye Braateen, known as Chainsaw Mama carved another whimsical woodland scene near the south bridge in Bible Park.
Upcoming Art Projects