Walk around the River North Art District (RiNo) in any direction for just a minute and you’re bound to see many sprawling murals plastered on the side of a building. You can spend hours wandering the district and still only see half of what is there RiNo has to offer. It’s true Denver Graffiti Tour (DGT) coknife in.
Denver Graffiti Tour takes customers on a two-hour walking tour of RiNo every Saturday and Sunday at 10 am. The tour stops to appreciate and learn about all the breathtaking murals and graffiti art. Hear details about the artist, the art and the history of the piece to provide a more in-depth and thoughtful experience than you would get on your own.
“We want to give an art class on street art to know the different types, but also to give the social, political and historical context of the art that you can’t always find on Google. We do the research, whether it’s talking to the artist directly, or just researching the hell out of it.” said Jana Novak, the co-owner of DGT. Novak is a freelance writer WHO start with DGT as a tour guide before being in the co-ownership position with Nick Fletcher in February 2022.
Art is a catalyst for community, it is meant to bring us together and think about the world around us. Denver and the RiNo neighborhood specifically has deep historical ties to the Black and Latino communities. This is where street art comes in Denver began, and where it blossomed into what it is today.
The art that in RiNo is fascinating. Using the buildings as the canvas, creativity is unfettered, allowing for some of the most thought-provoking artwork in the state. Denver Graffiti Tour was the first tour of its kind in the Mile High City. Their history gives them an edge over their competitors as they have used that time to build deep roots in the community, watching the growth of this unique subculture. Community is also one of the core values of the tour, as Novak talked at length about how they can help the neighborhood, and vice versa.
Street art is a mostly thankless art form. At a concert, the artist sees the fans cheering in the crowd. But with physical art, this is not always true. Because of this, an aspect of the business that DGT close to his heart, empowers the artists.
Since Novak and Fletcher took over, they have focused on doing everything they can to ensure that the artists get their fair share of the praise they deserve. “We try to spend a lot of time on our social media to do anything to help publicize their art… It’s been a big learning curve to take over a business, but we really orient the business to how we can help the artists, and what we can do for them,” Novak said. On their website, there is a tab for the artists who highlight their portfolio and social media and encourage people to support the artist by buying some of their work.
“One of the first things we did when we took over was really deep discounts on tours for schools and non-profit organizations,” says Novak. This move seemed to work as schools started coming DGT for excursions. During one tour, Novak recalled an instance when a kid who wanted to grow up to be a professional street artist came on the tour. “They happened to ran into one of our artists here in the community and the artist spent all this time with him. He helped him come up with his graffiti artist name. So he had this great experience and will now go on and hopefully become a graffiti artist… Those are the experiences that make it all worth it.”
Denver Graffiti Tour presentations tours every weekend for which you can get tickets here. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for children. If the classic tour isn’t enough for you, there’s also a happy hour tour that takes a 30-minute break at a local brewery for you to purchase a refreshing ice-cold beer or cocktail.
DGT has a mission to show what Denver has to offer the world through street art and graffiti. This city’s street art is something to share with others, and DGT do everything in his power to express it. Through his efforts, they have been able to build a reputation in both the artist and neighborhood communities and continue to grow and expand. Remember to wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen if The one from Denver weather can be very unpredictable.