Art that speaks

Talk a walk, see some art

Three murals behind 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 diverse artists together every fall to blanket empty walls around the city with optimistic murals that often focus on equality, identity and community. 

We’ve put together a walking tour that will take you through a mere nine of these murals, starting downtown on 14th Street behind Boulder Theater and running east to Folsom Village, then north to the Dairy Arts Center. We’ve also mentioned a few of our favorite spots where you can stop for food, drinks and more art along the way.

Alley behind Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St.:

1. Artist: Shannon Galpin, (“Say Her Name”)—Shannon Galpin is a powerhouse: a global activist, artist, author, explorer, and public speaker. In addition to her conservation work, she spent more than a decade on women’s rights projects in Afghanistan and was awarded an honorary achievement diploma by the International Olympic Committee for her work on gender equality through sports. This mural is a part of her Love Letters series, which highlights violence against women. 

2. Artist: Gabriel Sanchez (woman with sunglasses)—Gabriel Sanchez makes paintings that focus on Cuban current events and politics as seen through the lens of portraiture. Sanchez splits 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 Indigenous people, touching on issues of race, history and stereotypes. Deal tells stories of decolonization and appropriation that affect Indian country.

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

Nearby: Grab food from one of the seven eateries inside Avanti Food and Beverage (1401 Pearl St.). Walk east along Pearl and stop by Into the Wind (1408 Pearl St.) to see fantastic kites. If you’ve got youngsters in tow, snap a pic of your kid riding a bear, frog or rat at the Children’s Sculpture Playground. Maybe stop by Gelato Boy (1433 Pearl St.) for advanced flavors like blackberry cornbread and lavender poppy. You could also just people-watch a bit, beer in hand for the adults, on Mountain Sun’s (1535 Pearl St.) Pearl-facing patio, because the next mural is right around the corner.

Alley behind 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 America. His work explores parallels between these hybrid identities, mostly in myth, religion and ritual. He uses ancient traditional processes to produce work through clay and sculpture. 

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

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

5. Artist: Moe Gram—Moe Gram is amultidisciplinary artist who creates paintings, murals, collages and installations. Gram’s work involves themes of identity, empathy, human connection and self reflection through vivid colors and the suggestion of movement, noise and texture.

Courtesy 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 for five years under the original moniker at cramped digs on Folsom Street. Paradise moved the operation to Pearl in 2021 for more spacious accommodations and a gentle makeover. Stocked full of vinyl, CDs, books, posters and stereo equipment, plus a staff eager to talk about records, it’s a music-lover’s paradise. Continue to explore other offerings on your easterly walk down 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 at age 5. A recipient of a Governor’s Creative Leadership award from Colorado Creative Industries, Silva has collaborated with cities, nonprofits, businesses and educators across the state. His large-scale mural installations often focus on compelling portraits that tell personal stories.

Nearby: Stop by River and Woods (2328 Pearl St.) if you’re feeling up to another drink or maybe a cheese board to share with friends. This century-old miner’s cabin has a charming backyard patio. 

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

7. Artist: Julio Mendoza: Julio “Jwlç” Mendoza was born in El Paso, Texas, but raised in Ciudad Juárez until he was 11 years. Since then, he’s lived in the Westwood area of Denver, growing in his artistic practice through the support of the local community. His culture, heritage and identity are central to his work.

Nearby: What’s a day out in Boulder without a stop at the dispensary? Pop into Terrapin Care Station (1795 Folsom St.) and enjoy Colorado-grown weed, whether that’s in an edible, flower, concentrate or topical patch. 

Folsom Village, 1605 Folsom St. (the shopping center that houses Village Coffee Shop): 

8. Artist: AJ Davis—AJ Davis has worked alongside internationally renowned artists including Nychos, Mike Giant, and Fabian ‘Bane’ Florin to create limited edition series of cast metal sculpture. He’s painted walls in Europe, Indonesia and Central America. 

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

Nearby: Snag an e-bike if you can, because your next stop is about a half a mile away at the Dairy Arts Center. But you should stop into McGuckin’s Hardware (2525 Arapahoe Ave.) to see why it’s a beloved business—more department store than hardware store. If you’ve skipped out on eating at other parts of the journey, let us suggest a stop by Efrain’s, where you can bliss out over the cuisine of Northern Chihuahua. And margaritas.  

Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St.:

9. Artists: Spray Their Name (Hiero Veiga and Thomas Evans)—Denver artist Thomas “Detour” Evan’s colorful portraiture dots seemingly all of Denver. With Boston-based painter Hiero Veiga, the two have paid tribute to victims of police brutality under the moniker Spray Their Name. Here in Boulder, the Dairy Center wears a striking portrait of Sandra Bland, who hung herself in her jail cell at age 28 after being arrested for a routine traffic stop. 

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

Nearby: Head inside the Dairy—a former milk-processing facility—for a smorgasbord of artistic offerings: You could catch a hip art house movie at the Boedecker Theater, stroll through the art exhibitions, or see if there’s a dance performance, comedy, new play or intimate concert going on.   

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