Art is a powerful means of communication and self expression. It has an incredible ability to unify a group of people. Whether it be music, visual art, performance, or any other form, art makes us feel deeply. It communicates messages that can’t always be described in words, but are felt undoubtably, and shared amongst communities.
Art is everywhere in Denver. Murals and sculptures created by residents are displayed in neighborhoods throughout the city. Street performers put on unique acts that draw in crowds. The art is clearly appreciated, and shows the different voices in Denver. It gives the city life.
When I first stepped foot in Westwood, I immediately noticed the murals painted on walls and dumpsters. They are beautiful forms of expression and proudly show Westwood’s unique culture. They bring the neighborhood to life. As I walked through the alleyways painted bright blue, with colorful tires and designs on the sidewalk, I could picture children playing in the alleys. I could see the artists standing along the walkways and street corners, immersing themselves in their work. Expressing the voice of the community through these unique murals.
Westwood is one of Denver’s designated creative districts. My team has attended two meetings that highlighted the importance of creative districts and creative place-making in Denver. Cool Connected Westwood, BuCu West Development, and other community partners in Westwood are planning many community art projects that will connect with Westwood’s Via Verde project. Proposed projects include a moving story collection booth, a school mural project, a community art studio, and incorporation of CEDaR’s community science data into an art project. The projects hope to connect environmental initiatives with the culture and heritage of Westwood’s residents.
As a part of our community science outreach work, CEDaR will be observing walking patterns along the Via Verde in Westwood and assess the correlation between green spaces and outdoor activity. After seeing the prominence of art in the community, and hearing about the importance of the artworks firsthand from the residents, we’re planning to expand our activity observations to spaces where art is displayed.
It’s wonderful that these works of art are displayed for all residents to share and enjoy. It is obvious that art is central to the Westwood community and helps to maintain its integrity. Hopefully, continued community art projects and community science data can help express the unique soul of Westwood and the rest of Denver.
Here’s some of the community art I photographed in Westwood: