All Posts

Exploring the RiNo Arts Scene

Woman standing against a colorful blue and orange abstract mural, one of many murals in the RiNo district

Not so long ago, what’s now known as RiNo was little more than an abandoned industrial area with vacant warehouses and dilapidated factories. But as so often happens, artists drawn by its cheap rents and loft-like spaces—ideal for creating and storing art—began moving to the area, turning empty buildings into studios and galleries. In 2005, two of those artists, Tracy Weil and Jill Hadley-Hooper, created the River North Arts District as a way to bring the artists in the area together as a community—and to promote their art. Within a year, the group went from eight artists to 50, and the neighborhood has been the creative hub of the city ever since.

Today, the River North Arts District—which quickly got shortened to RiNo—draws people from all over with its thriving art scene. One of the most popular attractions is the colorful street murals that bring life and color to once-drab building facades throughout the neighborhood. The murals do more than just liven up the district—they also support local artists. There’s also a great assortment of art galleries in RiNo.

  • The RiNo Mural Program, which works with local artists on monthly installations, ensures that all mural artists are paid for their creations.

  • The RiNo Murals Map is a great way to do a self-guided tour of the River North art murals.

  • If you’re looking for a more in-depth experience, Denver Graffiti Tour offers two-hour walking tours.

  • For contemporary art, head to foolPRoof, which shows works from well-known established artists, emerging newcomers, and everyone in between.

  • Plinth offers rotating monthly exhibits of contemporary ceramics,

  • Globeville Riverfront Art Form (GRACe) is both a gallery for the public and a studio space for more than 80 artists working in a variety of media.

  • PlatteForum pairs professional artists with K-12 students from marginalized communities to help them create—and display—their own bodies of work.

  • Want to create your own self-guided tour of the galleries in RiNo? This map will help you plan your route.