Denver is home to many colorful murals that celebrate Black lives. Here’s a guide for where to find many of them by two notable artists who made them.
The artist Detour, whose name is Thomas Evans, has his work splashed around the city in vibrant and full murals. Detour’s work can be found on brick walls, industrial garage doors, and other urban spaces. His murals are found in cities outside of Denver too and depict people from many backgrounds and stories.
You will also see this artist, an alumni of the University of Colorado at Denver, referred to as Thomas “Detour” Evans and “I am Detour” or “Iamdetour,” depending on the source. Detour got his start painting murals when he was invited to take one of his large paintings on canvas and transfer it to a wall during the annual CRUSH Walls graffiti event in 2015.
Here is a list of a few of his works and where to find them:
John Lewis, United State Congressman who represented Georgia from 1997 to 2020, is a Civil Rights icon. His portrait is found at 40th and Franklin Sts.
Breonna Taylor, a 26-year old Black woman who was shot and killed in her Louisville, KY home in 2020 when police stormed the property. Her portrait with her face surrounded by red roses is at 2811 Walnut St. in the RiNo neighborhood. This was part of a #SprayTheirNames series with artist Hiero Veiga.
India Arie, Charles Burrell, Madam C. J. Walker, and John Mosley, on 26th and Welton Sts. (on the back of the Five Points Plaza) in the Five Points neighborhood. Each one of the people in this tribute mural has a connection to Denver: R&B artist India Arie was born in Denver; Charles Burrell was a classical and jazz bass player who became the first Black person to become a member of a major U.S. symphony with the Colorado Symphony in 1949; Madam C. J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove) was an entrepreneur who came to Denver in 1905 as she was expanding her line of hair care products; John Mosley was born in Denver in 1921 and became a Tuskegee Airman after attending Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
You can spot a Detour mural because of his signature use of bright yellows, purples, blues, pinks and other striking bold colors. Some of his murals can only be seen on his website or online as they get painted over for various reasons.
Adri Norris creates under her brand, Afro Triangle Designs. She focuses on telling the stories of women with many different backgrounds, especially those from marginalized communities.
Norris’ work ranges from trading cards to murals, with a lot in between for every style and budget. Prints of her artwork are available for sale on her website.
Here is a list of some her murals and where to find them:
Cleo Parker Robinson located inside the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance School at 20th Ave. and Washington St. The mural is not of just Cleo Parker Robinson, but of many dancers energetically swirling and lifting and moving through their dances.
Five Points History located inside the Blair Caldwell Library of African American History on Welton St. and 24th Ave. Featured in the mural are depictions of Dr. Joyce Davis, Clara Brown, Dr. Justina Ford, and Sarah Foster.
Columbine Elementary at 29th Ave. and Columbine St. has a mural showing modern day students learning about three Denver Black women: Dr. Justina Ford, Madam C. J. Walker, and Cleo Parker Robinson.
You can find more public art by Black artists or public art honoring Black modern and historic figures on this self-guided tour around Denver.