Art that speaks – Boulder Weekly | Candle Made Easy

Three murals behind the Boulder Theater by Shannon Galpin, Gabriel Sanchez and Gregg Deal.

Nearly 100 murals across the city come from Boulder’s Street Wise Mural Festival, which brings together different artists each fall to cover blank walls across the city with upbeat murals that often focus on equality, identity and community.

We’ve put together a walking tour that takes you through just nine of these murals, starting downtown on 14th Street behind the Boulder Theater and east to Folsom Village, then north to the Dairy Arts Center. We’ve also mentioned some of our favorite spots to enjoy food, drinks, and more art along the way.

Alley behind the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St.:

1. Artist: Shannon Galpin, (“Say Her Name”)—Shannon Galpin is a powerhouse: a global activist, artist, writer, researcher and speaker. In addition to her conservation work, she has spent more than a decade in women’s rights projects in Afghanistan and has been awarded an honorary diploma by the International Olympic Committee for her work on gender equality in sport. This mural is a part of her love letters Series highlighting violence against women.

2. Artist: Gabriel Sanchez (woman with sunglasses)—Gabriel Sanchez paints paintings that focus on current events and politics in Cuba seen through the lens of portraiture. Sanchez divides his time between Colorado and Cuba.

3. Artist: Gregg Deal (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women)—Gregg Deal of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe challenges Western perceptions of Native Americans, touching on issues of race, history and stereotypes. Deal tells stories of decolonization and appropriation affecting the Indian land.

Three murals behind the Boulder Theater by Shannon Galpin, Gabriel Sanchez and Gregg Deal. (Photo by Matt Maenpaa)

Nearby: Get food at one of the seven restaurants inside Avanti Food and Beverage (1401 Pearl St.). Walk east along the Pearl and stop into the wind (1408 Pearl St.) to see amazing kites. If you have kids in tow, snap a photo of your child riding a bear, frog or rat at the Children’s Sculpture Playground. Maybe drop by gelato boy (1433 Pearl St.) for advanced flavors like blackberry cornbread and lavender poppy seeds. You can also just do a little people-watching, beer in hand for the grown-ups, on Mountain Sun’s Pearl-facing patio (1535 Pearl St.), because the nearest mural is just around the corner.

Alley behind the Mountain Sun Pub, 1535 Pearl St.:

Artist: Cal Duran. Behind Mountain Sun Pub, Boulder, CO. (Photo by Matt Maenpaa)

4. Artist: Cal Duran—Cal Duran grew up in Colorado with roots that bridge India and Native Americans. His work explores parallels between these hybrid identities, primarily in myth, religion, and ritual. He uses old traditional methods to create clay works and sculptures.

Nearby: Continue east on the Pearl and stop by Glassworks Colorado (1500 Pearl St., Suite D), where owner/artist Meggy Wilm sells beautiful handmade stained glass pieces, but also teaches classes and sells supplies to help you get started with your own stained glass art.

1647 Pearl St. (east-facing wall at 16th Street):

5. Artist: Moe Gram—Moe Gram is a multidisciplinary artist creating paintings, murals, collages and installations. Gram’s work incorporates themes of identity, empathy, human connection and self-reflection through vivid colors and the suggestion of movement, sound and texture.

Courtesy of Street Wise moe gram

Nearby: Paradise Found Records and Music (1646 Pearl St.) Owner Will Paradise bought Bart’s Records from Bart Stinchcomb in 2016 and ran the store under its original name for five years in a cramped dig site on Folsom Street. Paradise moved operations to Pearl in 2021 for more spacious accommodations and a gentle renovation. Stuffed with vinyl, CDs, books, posters and stereos, and staff who are happy to talk vinyl, it’s a music lover’s paradise. Explore more offerings on your easterly walk along Pearl Street as you make your way to the Chamber of Commerce.

Boulder Chamber of Commerce, Armando Silva. (Photo by Matt Maenpaa)

Boulder Chamber of Commerce, 2440 Pearl St.:

6. Artist: Armando Silva—Armando was born in Sombrerete, Zacatecas, Mexico and moved to northern Colorado with his family when he was 5 years old. A recipient of the Governor’s Creative Leadership Award from Colorado Creative Industries, Silva has worked with cities, nonprofits, businesses, and educators across the state. His large-scale wall installations often focus on captivating portraits that tell personal stories.

Nearby: Come round river and forest (2328 Pearl St.) if you fancy another drink or maybe a cheese board to share with friends. This centuries-old miner’s cabin features a charming backyard patio.

1845 Folsom (the building stands vacant, next to on an empty lot):

7. Artist: Julio Mendoza: Julio “Jwlç” Mendoza was born in El Paso, Texas but grew up in Ciudad Juárez until he was 11 years old. Since then he has lived in Denver’s Westwood area and has grown in his artistic practice through the support of the local community. Its culture, heritage and identity are at the heart of his work.

Nearby: What would a day in Boulder be without a stop at the pharmacy? Dive in Turtle sanctuary (1795 Folsom St.) and enjoy weed grown in Colorado, whether edible, flower, concentrate or topical patch.

Folsom Village, 1605 Folsom St. (the mall where the Village Coffee Shop is located):

8. Artist: AJ Davis—AJ Davis has collaborated with internationally renowned artists such as Nychos, Mike Giant and Fabian ‘Bane’ Florin to create a limited series of cast metal sculptures. He has painted walls in Europe, Indonesia and Central America.

Hawk, AJ Davis. Folsom Village, Boulder, CO.

Nearby: Grab an e-bike if you can, as your nearest stop is about half a mile away Dairy Art Center. But you should stop McGuckin’s Hardware (2525 Arapahoe Ave.) to see why it’s a popular store—more department store than hardware store. If you’ve skipped food elsewhere in the trip, we suggest a stop at Efrain’s for northern Chihuahuan cuisine. And margaritas.

9. Artists: Spray Her Name (Hiero Veiga and Thomas Evans)– Denver artist Thomas “Detour” Evan’s colorful portraits seem to grace all of Denver. With Boston-based painter Hiero Veiga, the two paid tribute to victims of police brutality under the nickname Spray Their Name. Here in Boulder, the Dairy Center bears a striking portrait of Sandra Bland, who hanged herself in her prison cell at the age of 28 after being arrested for a routine traffic stop.

Spray Their Name by Hiero Veiga and Thomas Evans. Dairy Arts Center, Boulder, CO.

Nearby: Visit the Dairy – a former milk processing plant – for a smorgasbord of artistic offerings: you can catch a hit art-house film at the Boedecker Theater, stroll through the art exhibitions, or see if there’s a dance performance, comedy, new play, or intimate concert in progress.

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