Our Stories

CRUSH Walls 2019: Where Art is Made


A week-long celebration of culture, music, and arts, CRUSH WALLS harmonized the entire community where RiNo Art District’s vibrant spirit and energy resonated with everyone who attended. This year, the event dubbed “the “largest independent street art project and event” galvanized over 100,000 people from Denver and beyond, doubling the foot traffic from last year and resulted in most places experiencing record sales.

In 2010, well-known Denver graffiti artist Robin Munro partnered with RiNo Art District to elevate and expand CRUSH Walls. With shared mission of Creative Rituals Under Social Harmony, the partnership “celebrates the craft of graffiti and street artists who bring life to walls while maintaining the unique cultural identity in this rapidly evolving community.”

With a multitude of events, from Secret Walls, the world’s premier live illustration battle, to EDENS’ opening block party, a celebration inviting the entire community to kick-off the week of festivities, CRUSH Walls became the must-visit destination for the week. For a second year, EDENS partnered with CRUSH Walls to celebrate community engagement and creative expression.

88 walls were painted this year by notable artists like Gregg Deal, Debbie Clapper, and Pharaoh One.

Gregg Deal (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe) is a provocative contemporary artist who challenges Western perceptions of Indigenous people, touching on issues of race, history and stereotypes. Through his work—paintings, murals, performance art, filmmaking and spoken word, Deal critically examines issues and tells stories of decolonization and appropriation that affect Indian country. Deal’s activism exists in his art, as well as his participation in political movements.

He painted a piece that hit very close to home for indigenous peoples in Colorado, and it was blessed in a traditional ceremony.

Drawing nearly every day since the age of 9, Boulder-based artist, designer, mentor Debbie Clapper (stage name Gneural) has taken her passion for abstract optical illusion art to build a lush career around pattern illustration. Heavily inspired by M.C. Escher and graffiti, Debbie’s work strives to inspire and ignite imagination in all who interact with it. Her funky yet sophisticated designs have brought life to brands such as Smartwool, BOA Technology, Hope Hummus, Rickshaw Bags and Pactimo.

In addition to her commercial work, Debbie loves helping artists and designers overcome creative block through workshops and one-on-one mentoring.

Psychedelic neon love story; Denver-based artist Pharaoh often uses vibrant colors and characters to convey another worldly narrative on the streets. This year, he collaborated with Los Angeles-based artist Zach Howard to transform the porthole space into a psychedelic neon love story.

This year’s Secret Walls, the world’s premier live illustration battle, was buzzing with energy as a curious crowd of art-lovers encircled an 8 foot wall in the middle of empty RiNo warehouse. Two teams of graffiti artists let their imaginations run wild across the double-sided canvas. After 2 hours and a few buckets of black paint the crowd voted for their favorite with uproarious applause.

As a home to resident creators and thriving entrepreneurs, RiNo is a neighborhood that sparks moments of discovery around every corner— one that EDENS is proud to be a part of.