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Denver Arts & Venues Announced New Cherry Creek Trail Urban Arts Fund Project by Artist Rafael Blanco

Denver Arts & Venues Announced New Cherry Creek Trail Urban Arts Fund Project by Artist Rafael Blanco

Denver Arts & Venues has announced the creation of a new Cherry Creek Trail Urban Arts Fund project by Spanish artist Rafael Blanco. The artwork, titled "Color Isn't Race," features a graduating spectrum of colors through which the faces of four teenagers of different cultures and ethnicities stare intently at the viewer.

"These large-scale portraits are a visual declaration," explained Blanco. "The concept not only represents diversity, but also celebrates it. The four protagonists represent Denver's youth."

Created through a combination of chiaroscuro technique and photo realism, the four faces span a 7 ft. x 30 ft. section of wall bordering the Cherry Creek Bike Trail between 14th and Colfax avenues.

Trained as a studio painter, Blanco still enjoys outdoor painting, even with the added pressure of the elements and the difference in size and scale. To him, urban mural painting is almost performance art. In the studio, a piece is hidden from the public and can be recreated or even destroyed by the artist, but on the street, there is an audience to witness the art's creation.

"This is what I love about public art. That people get to see it while is being created," said Blanco. "People were constantly passing by and most of them were thanking me for beautifying the city every single day."

The new Urban Arts Fund mural was completed Sunday, Oct. 27, just before a fall snowstorm gained momentum, pushing through Denver and dropping nearly 6 inches of snow.

"I felt the pressure of the weather, not knowing if the elements were going to let me finish," said Blanco. "Sunday's weather changes definitely complicated things, but it wasn't too bad. I didn't look at the thermometer on purpose, because I just wanted to paint no matter what. When I'm painting, everything else kind of disappears; when I'm there with the brush in front of the canvas or the wall, I feel totally present and incredibly grateful to be there."

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