Updated: Nov 23, 2021
The CALC team is honored to present the newest intersection mural in the Westwood neighborhood at Cuatro Vientos Park. This mural is the fourth and final in our series of intersection murals along the Westwood Via Verde, a project that the Westwood community has been dreaming up for many years. We are excited to celebrate the successes of this project, thanks to BuCu West, The Trust for Public Land, Denver DOTI, Denver CALC, Denver Streets Partnership, a P.S. You Are Here grant from Denver Arts & Venues, and community support for this community-led initiative. All four of the murals are located adjacent to schools and parks in the neighborhood along the Westwood Via Verde, a three-mile neighborhood greenway project developed alongside community residents with shared priorities to deliver on the community’s vision for a unique multi-modal experience, climate justice, and improved health outcomes (such as improved pedestrian safety, water quality, and urban tree canopy).
First, the Backstory:
These murals have been in planning for a long time. The mural at Cuatro Vientos Park was intended to be our first installation in April 2020, unfortunately the first of many events that was cancelled due to COVID-19. Community involvement is so important to us for these projects, so we didn’t want to move ahead with a project without a way for people to meaningfully engage along the way. After the initial waves of COVID subsided, we decided to carefully move forward with installing the other three murals in the project, using smaller volunteer teams, wearing masks, and following social distancing. Though these were done on a smaller scale than we would have liked, this approach allowed us to continue working with (and pay) the local artists that we had commissioned for the other mural projects, and move forward the community vision. After completing the third mural in June 2021 at Westwood Park, the team cautiously began planning for the final mural, circling our partners to explore bringing back our idea of the Block Party, but this time as a final celebration.
A Cause for Celebration:
Though CALC has done several intersection murals, this one was very unique for us as we combined it with a community block party. We did this because we wanted to provide resources and activities for people and families in the Westwood neighborhood to help encourage active transportation, street safety, and community health. We invited a wide range of partners to come share resources, giveaways, and more at the event, including:
Bike Giveaway: Thanks to Lime and Lucky Bikes, we gave away 15 adult bikes to attendees. Thanks to Denver DOTI, each of these bikes also came with a helmet and a bike lock so that the winners could keep themselves and their bike safe in the long-term.
Westwood Via Verde: The Trust for Public Land shared new Westwood Via Verde yard signs with the community and talked with residents about the three-mile neighborhood greenway project.
DOTI Projects: We brought out our own teams to engage on projects currently underway, including the Westwood-Athmar Park Neighborhood Transportation Management Program (NTMP), the Morrison Road Streetscaping improvements, and the Denver Moves Everyone citywide plan.
Bike resources: Our partners at Bicycle Colorado offered a bicycle rodeo to teach bike safety skills, while Lime offered demos of their e-bikes and scooters and talked about their equity pass programs. Additionally, REI Co-Op provided free bike repair!
Free food and water: DOTI sponsored 200 free lunches that we provided to attendees and volunteers from local food trucks Lily’s Cocina and NatuFresh Food Truck. The Southwest Denver Coalition sponsored free bottled water for the event.
Entertainment: DJ Konz set up a great mood throughout the event and brought community members far and wide! Later in the afternoon, Grupo Huitzilpochtli performed beautiful traditional Aztec dances.
Resources from City of Denver agencies: While DOTI works heavily on transportation safety, we depend on partner agencies to support our communities in safety & health as well. Denver Animal Shelter, Denver Human Services, Denver Public Health & Environment, and Denver Police Department were all in attendance, providing free resources to attendees.
About the mural:
When we began planning for these four mural projects, we asked community members what they would like to see and what was important to them. Two big themes emerged: the proud and diverse cultural heritages in our community that come together to call this neighborhood “home,” and a connection to nature. As such, the four murals each centered around a natural element (earth, air, fire, and water), and incorporated cultural themes. This mural was designed by CALC’s own Kayla Gilbert, a Westwood resident and local artist. When asked what inspired this mural, Kayla said:
“The fourth and final mural represented the “Air” element, which so perfectly fit Cuatro Vientos (Four Winds) Park, not only in name but also with its existing eagle sculpture and bird’s eye views of both Downtown Denver and the mountains. I was inspired by the imagery of elevating our community while also staying grounded to nature, which is why the mural depicts two eagles soaring through the sky with wind behind them and trees and mountains below.”
What is an intersection mural?
Just like it sounds, an intersection mural is a large painted mural. But instead of being painted on a wall like you might think, it’s actually painted on the street, in the middle of an intersection. We usually paint them near schools, parks, or community centers to involve community residents in promoting neighborhood identity, beautifying neighborhoods. The bright colors in the murals bring attention to people walking, rolling, or biking to those community destinations. To learn more about DOTI’s Community Streets program for permitting intersection murals, visit http://denvergov.org/communitystreets
Do you ever wonder how an intersection mural is implemented in just one day? Check out this timelapse video of our team painting the mural!
Four Murals & Westwood Via Verde:
These locations were chosen because they are along the Westwood Via Verde and adjacent to schools and parks. Stop by and visit all four intersection murals are located at:
Cuatro Vientos Park - Newton and Nevada
Westwood Park – Xavier and Ohio
Munroe Elementary – Knox and Custer
Castro Elementary – Lowell and Ada