The Challenge

The I-70 viaduct between Brighton Boulevard and York Street, spanning across the Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods, has created a dark and shadowy eyesore since 1964. With the Central 70 Project set to demolish these plain, concrete walls in a couple of years, CIG saw an opportunity to bring together communities, raise awareness about the area, and create beauty from the beast.

CIG saw an opportunity to create beauty from the beast.

Our Solution

CIG brought 20 local urban artists out to the viaducts and unleashed them to work their creative magic on the blank concrete walls. Within a few days, the area was transformed into bright, energizing and breathtaking art. What was once a dreary, depressing concrete jungle was now a bright and colorful gallery.

The energy intensified when visitors flocked to watch the final transformation take place at a community event. Local vendors chatted with community members and offered their own art projects. Music filled the air throughout the event and kids practiced their urban art skills on a wall set aside just for them.

The collaboration to make this event possible included one creative team, one connected art administrator, one diligent nonprofit, one open-minded government agency, nine generous sponsors and a $6,000 grant from the Denver Urban Arts Fund.

One year later, CIG and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) teamed up with the Denver Arts & Venues Urban Arts Fund (UAF), Denver Art & Skills Center (DASC), and other local sponsors to bring even more life and beauty to this viaduct. They expanded west under the viaduct and brought in a group of 26 local urban artists this time around for ‘duct-work 2. 

The party expanded too. CIG sponsored a TransComm event where communication representatives from departments of transportation across the country came to admire this urban art display as part of the national American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) conference. 46th Avenue was blocked off to allow guests to literally dance in the streets, taste the local flavor from several food trucks and share their own creativity on the community art wall. 

The next day, CIG organized a family-friendly event where locals could walk around and check out the art, enjoy music, and feast on tamales from a local caterer. CIG handed out paint brushes, paint and aprons, allowing the community to create their own creative space on the art wall. 

The Results

‘Duct-work brought beauty and inspiration to the community under the I-70 viaduct for the remaining years until it was removed as part of the Central 70 Project. 

This project was also named Westword’s 2016 Best Urban Art Project.

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