Boulder is a colorful city — in character but also quite literally.
You can see the shades of Boulder as you walk through its neighborhoods, which are lined with oversized street murals.
In fact, Boulder’s neighborhood murals are part of a city initiative.
It’s called the Creative Neighborhoods Mural Program, launched by the city’s Office of Arts and Culture in 2018.
The goal: to use Boulder’s artistic abilities to design murals on local homes that the community can enjoy from public streets and paths. Murals are important, in that they convey the pulse of the community and can share the unique personalities of different neighborhoods and the city, according to the program.
No painting over street art around here; the city supports it — and even paid for it. Last summer, homeowners and artists (from a certain city-approved mural artist roster) pitched mural designs to the city. The city selected applicants to receive up to $2,500 (for the artist) to bring the creative vision to reality. The total project budget was set at $25,000, with funding coming from the Community Culture and Safety Tax.
The pre-selected artists came from the Front Range, from Denver to Fort Collins, with a good number based in Boulder, including Sam Cikauskas, Alejandra Abad, Chris Huang, Brandy LeMae, Catherine Pistone and V. Ross. The artists have diverse backgrounds.
For example, Cikauskas runs a small print shop in the foothills and graduated from the University of Colorado with a masters of fine arts degree in printmaking.
And Abad, born in Venezuela, enjoys “fantastical landscapes” and “whimsical character designs.” She’s a student at CU.
Artwork in each of Boulder’s nine sub-communities (the CU campus, Crossroads, Central Boulder, South Boulder, Southeast Boulder, East Boulder, North Boulder, Gunbarrel and the Palo Park area) was painted outside where it’s easy to see. The art covers homes, garages and fences, and the homeowners agreed to maintain it for at least five years.
Take the Tour
See the artwork for yourself on a self-guided tour:
Click here for the driving tour.
Click here for the biking tour.
The full loop is 10 miles long and takes about an hour on bike, not counting the time you might want to stop, look and take photos.
More murals are coming, too. Officials say murals are slated for completion through 2020.