An unsightly and poorly lit underpass in Denver is getting a makeover thanks to local artists, volunteers and a big-name beer company.
On Saturday morning, a mural started to take shape on the walls of the 38th Street underpass between Walnut and Wynkoop streets.
“I am filling the lightest blue space that is connected to themoon right here,” said muralist, Pat Milbery, as he rolled light blue paint onto the top corner of the wall.
Milbery knows more than most how a fresh coat of paint can brighten things up. If there’s one spot that needs brightening, it’s the 38th Street underpass in RiNo.
“It’s always been kind of grimy and dirty under here and kind of feels a little unsafe,” Milbery said.
The busy underpass serves as a connector between east and west RiNo.
“It’s quite dangerous here,” said Tracy Weil. “There’s a lot of traffic and [it’s] quite dark.”
Weil is the co-founder of the RiNo Art District which partnered with Milbery, lighting artists from Knomad Colab and Blue Moon Brewing Co. to bring art and safety to the underpass.
“Funding came from Blue Moon and Miller Coors,” Weil said. “They gave us $20,000 to actually do this wall and the wall across there,” he added, pointing to the south wall of the underpass.
The mural is just the first layer of the project that won’t be complete until spring of 2017.
“There’s this beautiful railing underneath the underpass here and we have some lighting artists that are coming in to highlight that pattern that’s on those railings and then light up this whole underpass,” Weil explained.
Artists from Knomad Colab will add LED lighting to illuminate the railing and the darkest section of the underpass. The geometric pattern on the railing inspired the mural Pat Milbery and his crew from So-Gnar designed. They borrowed colors from Blue Moon Brewing Co.
“We picked a bunch of different colors based off of the Blue Moon color palette and what their brand uses with a lot of their packaging and their labels and whatnot,” Milbery said.
Milbery said he hoped to finish up the mural on the north side of the underpass sometime on Sunday. In the meantime, he encouraged more volunteers to stop by and pick up a paintbrush.
“All these hands and all these creative minds are really, really helpful as part of the process,” Milbery said.
Blue Moon Brewing Co. also launched a social media campaign to raise money for future art projects in RiNo, which is now home to its brewery.
Each time someone 21 and older uses the hashtags #SomethingsBrewingRiNo and #Donation “with a post expressing how creativity improves their community,” Blue Moon will donate $1 to a future community project in the RiNo Art District.