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A new mural adorns the side of the Higher Grade Pharmacy at 1269 Elati Street, replacing a painting that honored the 2016 Denver Broncos Super Bowl Championship.
Completed October 7th by Denver artists TukeOne and Chad Bolsinger, the new painting depicts a fantasy landscape of tropical trees in front of snow-capped mountains, distant pine forests, and clean rows of agricultural fields.
Higher Grade moved into the building that previously housed two other cannabis dispensaries – Advanced Medical Alternatives and Damian Marley’s Stony Hill. By the time Higher Grade moved in, the not-so-flattering portrait of Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller had been in the spotlight of traffic on busy West 13th Avenue for several years, according to Higher Grade brand manager Brittany Brewer.
“Basically, we inherited the building with the Super Bowl Von Miller mural on the side and we didn’t necessarily love it and wanted to change it,” says Brewer. “We just wanted something that would enhance the neighborhood and make it really warm, inviting and exciting.”
The old mural by Zehb One was reminiscent of Von Miller and the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 win.
The pharmacy contacted Robert Gray, curator of Rob the Art Museum, to connect them with local artists to paint the mural. Gray has previously commissioned murals for cannabis dispensaries and is well connected in Denver’s street art scene. After Gray worked with Higher Grade to create the mural concept, Gray contacted Chad Bolsinger and TukeOne to paint the mural.
“When I first approached her, I thought, ‘What is higher grade about? What does that mean? ‘”He recalls. “I took it this way, ‘How can I get a higher grade of life? What in life makes you a higher mentality, a higher spirituality? ‘ – that kind of thing. ”
The mountains, the waterfall, the agricultural fields and the leafy rainforest trees are supposed to put the viewer in this sublime state, explains Gray: “I just found it to be a very calming and therapeutic place, and that’s why I requested all of the earthy wholeness and have natural, holistic-looking things in it. “
Higher Grade is happy about the new look of the brick wall. “We absolutely love it. It’s everything we hoped for and more, ”says Brewer. “It’s just a good vibe and it’s super bright. I actually have the feeling that this makes our building feel bigger and taller, and it’s just really beautiful.”
The artist Chad Bolsinger also painted two murals in Westword’s new office. Check it out here.
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Clara Geoghegan is a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder, where she studied anthropology with a focus on public health. She worked for Radio 1190’s News Underground and freelanced for Denverite. She is now the cannabis intern at Westword.