We’re excited to unveil our latest intersection mural in Denver - this one is at Castro Elementary School in the Westwood neighborhood of Southwest Denver. Castro Elementary provides an exciting and empowering environment that celebrates and nurtures its students, teachers, and families. The school works to inspire students to be culturally responsive with strong communication skills to succeed in a global society, and nurtures students to be advocates for self and others. Though the Castro Elementary community is currently serving those goals through remote learning, this new intersection mural will greet the community with support and positivity when students are safely able to start attending in-person classes again.
Led by local community artist Ratha Sok, a small team of masked volunteers painted this beautiful piece in the intersection of Lowell and Ada on Saturday, August 29th. When asked about what inspired his artwork, Ratha says:
“This mural concept is essentially a representation of coming together and because we are in a time of uncertainty and uneasy days, we have to continue to be united. The kois and water element represent the strength and rebirth of our communities as we get through this together. It is a refreshing reminder that new beginnings are in our future. As an artist who grew up in the Westwood neighborhood I know how resilient the community is and that we can overcome not only adversities but this global pandemic. To me this piece means a hopeful rebirth of the future of Southwest Denver as the community is facing challenging times; art for me is a reminder of new perspectives.”
This mural was the first of four murals to be installed in the Westwood neighborhood over the next year, thanks to BuCu West, The Trust for Public Land, Denver DOTI, Denver CALC, a P.S. You Are Here grant from Denver Arts & Venues, and community support for this community-led initiative. All four of the murals will be 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).
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, and bringing 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
We’re excited to bring this brightly colored intersection mural and positivity to Westwood alongside community residents while DOTI and our partners continue to improve infrastructure and increase safety in the neighborhood. While there’s more murals coming to Westwood, there’s also many infrastructure projects coming to increase safety for people walking, biking, and driving in the Westwood neighborhood. Join the community meeting on September 30th, 5:30-7:00pm, to learn about safety and multimodal projects along the West Kentucky Avenue corridor. At this meeting, we’ll discuss upcoming improvements to West Kentucky Avenue, the Kentucky & Irving Pocket Park, Safe Routes to School projects, intersection mural projects, and more.
We're painting one more mural in Westwood this Saturday, September 26th, at Munroe Elementary! We'll be hosting an "Instagram Takeover" on the @denverarts page On Saturday September 26th. Follow us there and follow Denver CALC on Instagram (@denver_calc) to learn about the next three intersection murals to be installed in Westwood at Munroe Elementary, Westwood Park, and Cuatro Vientos Park.