Painted during Denver Arts Week in 2016, the “Love This City” mural at 7th and Santa Fe depicts vibrant, colorful, and abstract shapes surrounding a large geometric heart and the word, “Denver.” Birds fly past, and a banner proclaiming, “Love This City” waves to identify the mural’s connection to history. The city’s first lady, Mary Lee Louise, helped paint the mural. In a Visit Denver blog post, artist Pat Milberry described how he felt about the opportunity to work with her:
After Denver Arts Week, Milberry coordinated with neighborhoods and arts councils to acquire donated space on buildings. He collaborated with the community as he designed the other two “Love This City” murals to ensure that their illustrations and colors would align with the vibe and character of the neighborhood.
The second piece is located at Broadway and Arapahoe. It also includes the heart, the bird, and elements of the Colorado landscape. “Nature reigns supreme,” Milberry stated in a Visit Denver blog. “The birds symbolize freedom of expression and a reminder for all of us to reach for the sky with our ideas, creativity, and energy.”
The River North ArtsDistrict, called RiNo, is home to many fascinating murals.
Watch the YouTube video below for an overview of the neighborhood, including an interview with Milberry and some other locals artists who have contributed to the creative scene:
Located at 12th and Bannock in the Golden Triangle Creative District, the third mural continues with the heart and bird symbol, as depicted in the original display, with a background of the Colorado sky. Milberry described how the design is supposed to express the stages of falling in love and the “joy and pain” of that experience. Regarding the mural, Milberry said, “Sometimes we need nature to help teach us to respect the evolution of our planet and fly high with love.”
Although each mural is different, all three of them depict the words “Love This City.” Milberry is originally from Minnesota but now calls Denver home. He said, “The music scene here is contagious, and all the young energy makes this city feel alive and well.” He is the founder of the So-Gnar Creative Division of street artists. In addition to the “Love This City” murals, So-Gnar Creative Division has created over 20 murals and public art commissions.
The YouTube time-lapse video below shows the Division completing a mural for the Declaration Brewing Company in 2017. A fourth mural in the Love This City project was added at 3860 Blake Street in 2019 in RiNo.
Cover image by Jean-Baptiste Burbard is made available on Pexels.