“Power & Equality” Mural at Crush Walls, Denver

September 08, 2018

I just completed this Power & Equality mural in Denver’s RINO district as part of the Crush festival. The RINO district has been a creative zone for many years, and in 2008 when it was far more “up-and-coming” we held the Manifest Hope art show there during the DNC. Since then, the art and mural scene in RINO has exploded, in part due to the efforts and curation of Crush, along with the cooperation of local property owners and lawmakers. The Crush festival supports local and international artists from graffiti and street art. Street art has sometimes been criticized as a catalyst for gentrification. I’m a believer that with the right policies in place, support for public art and protections for residents and the most vulnerable populations can exist side by side. My Power & Equality mural is meant to support that idea on a local level while pushing back against the forces of division and racism who have been emboldened by the current administration. After talking to two Denver City Council members about policies and local business owners who have created a stipend/scholarship fund for local low-income artists, I feel like efforts are being made to address the potential downside of gentrification.

Thanks to CRUSH Walls and Station 16 Gallery for their support, and to my crew of Dan Flores, Rob Zagula, and Luka Densmore for their help with the murals. Photo by Rob Zagula.

 – Shepard