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Notables: The Artists 2024 – Street Wise Arts

Notables: The Artists 2024 – Street Wise Arts


Featured mural “Can Women Do A.I?” by A.L. Grime.

Last year Yellow Scene Magazine focused on the many local towns we cover, the ones that have grown from coal mines, farms, and an early university to a thriving hub of arts, outdoor activities, and suburbs via our People’s History series. We turn our gaze in 2024 to the many artists throughout the community who are inspired by the landscape, the culture, and the receptiveness of the people who live here. YS will explore the intersection of art and artificial intelligence, the roles art plays in representation and storytelling, as well as influences and mediums. To kick off our series we present Street Wise Arts and the various artists who make these murals a reality.

Over 130 murals have transformed Boulder and the surrounding area

Representation and Community

“Our mural festivals are geared around art and activism. So highlighting community, social justice, diversity, all kinds of different platforms and also prioritizing representation of diverse artists in the public realm,” Leah Brenner-Clack, executive director of Street Wise Arts, shared. The power of representation has never been more important. In the era of divisive politics and hateful rhetoric, seeing yourself in a beautifully crafted, meaningful art piece can be a silently inspiring sign.

Street Wise Art for YS Magazine 2024 Cover Series: The Artists. Mural “Can Women Do A.I?” by A.L. Grime. Photography by Dustin Doskocil

Murals are what the organization specializes in, and the power of democratizing public art was not lost during our conversation. “You reach people that don’t go to galleries or you know, don’t have access to art and other ways … it doesn’t discriminate, everybody can experience it,” Brenner Clack said.

“There’s a whole different atmosphere. You put work in the gallery people can’t necessarily touch it,” the duo of Aiko Szymczak and Corinne Trujillo, known as Koco Collab, shared. “Sometimes you feel like you’re on display, it’s like anxiety central, [but with] the public, you’re out in the open. It feels more authentic, and people are just stoked you’re out there painting on the street.”

“Public-facing art has always been like a really important tool to either tell history or educate the public or to persuade the public,” Grow Love told us. “Maybe somebody who wouldn’t be interested in going into a gallery has an opportunity to have that interaction.”

There is no gatekeeper, and no cost associated with viewing a mural. They provide an experience completely devoid of a gallery. Viewers are typically not surrounded by critics or others in the art world while taking in the messages and stories conveyed on buildings. Murals place art in its context and help decorate a neighborhood rather than a private home or collection. They provide a sense of place.

Public art also allows visible representation. Street Wise Arts focuses on providing spaces for the voices of women, indigenous, Chicano, and various other communities. “People get to see themselves in a mural that they’re not expecting, or they’re no used to, in a pretty white, upper-class city like this,” Brenner Clack noted.

Street Wise Art for YS Magazine 2024 Cover Series: The Artists. “Can Women Do A.I?” by A.L. Grime. Photography by Dustin Doskocil

Public art can encourage the use of public space

“I’m trying to tell the story of that place,” Grow Love shared, “I utilize endangered plants or threatened species so that we have an opportunity to do something that falls on the viewer’s eyes that could be considered educational.”

Art can be interpreted in many different manners. What may be an extremely personal piece to one person may be representative of something else entirely to someone else. “The mural that we painted for Street Wise is my brother … He passed away from a fentanyl overdose a year and a half ago to about two years ago. We really wanted to bring like awareness to the Boulder community,” Szymczak opened up.

Brenner Clack expanded on the role public art plays in shaping a space. “I really see public art as the personality of a city … I always love to look for public art when I’m visiting somewhere.” Public art can encourage the use of public space, which in turn helps foster a sense of community and break down barriers of isolation and misunderstanding.

There is power in proclaiming space in a public setting. It lays claim to existing, it tells a story without words, it can soften and beautify a space and encourage community interaction and introspection. In a way, murals develop a cultural dialogue at a time when one is so desperately needed. They can foster a conversation without forcing one. They can make someone feel a little more at home. They can help educate a complacent or unaware person.

Street Wise Art for YS Magazine 2024 Cover Series: The Artists. “Can Women Do A.I?” by A.L. Grime. Photography by Dustin Doskocil

Artificial intelligence

For better or worse artificial intelligence is impacting the artist community in dramatic ways, maybe more visibly so than other industries at the moment. Artists across the board must grapple with the emerging technologies that can replicate, or at least imitate, human artistic creations that would normally take an inhuman amount of time.

Artists will be some of the first to directly incorporate the new technologies and determine how they will be used. Opinions range from full rejection of the technology to embracing it as just one more tool in the hands of the creators.

“We have a lot of friends and peers, where it’s directly competing with them and a lot of ways, especially photographers and graphic designers. So it’s tricky because it’s not going away,” Koco Collab said.

“A lot of artists are seeing it as a tool and learn how to use it in a way that helps them in a generative process in their practice. So it seems like it’s split, just like any other thing out there as far as what people’s opinions are about it,” Brenner Clack shared.

The actual creation of a mural will still need to be done by a human hand for the foreseeable future, but generating ideas for the layout, look, and design can all be assisted by A.I. In fact, A.I. can revolutionize pieces like murals, statues, and other physical surfaces in brand-new ways.

“In our mural festival we’ve done augmented reality layers,” Brenner Clark shared. “Augmented reality can add that whole extra layer depending on what the artist wants to use it for, it can be a video, it can be an animation, it can be sound, it can be whatever it is that they envisioned, they want the viewer to take from it.”

Street Wise Art for YS Magazine 2024 Cover Series: The Artists. “Can Women Do A.I?” by A.L. Grime. Photography by Dustin Doskocil

“I think I do think it’s a really powerful tool. And I think it’s a really interesting tool that I’m excited about. There needs to be oversight or ethical, you know, parameters for it getting in the hands of people that want to exploit [it].”

Not everyone sees it as a threat or even revolutionary necessarily. “I think it’s super cool. I don’t really have an opinion about it except that these kinds of things come and go. Nothing can really take away from the artist’s hand,” Grow Love said.

A.I. itself is often built off of stolen intellectual and artistic property to train the program, which will need to be resolved in the legal realm. “I feel bad for the artists who have a lot of work on the internet and they feel like they’re being ripped off right now,” Koco Collab said.

“It’s a weird time to be alive. Like we’re making these rules up as we go,” Koco Collab stated. Artists will be the first to work out the implications of new technologies but they will not be the last. Nearly every industry stands to be impacted in some way or another. As for street  art, Koco Collab shared that “AI hasn’t learned how to paint murals efficiently.”  

Artists will be the first to work out the implications of new technologies but they will not be the last.

Mural Tours

Street Wise Arts

Street Wise Arts offers tours of their work across the county. Guided tours are available for walking or biking. Be prepared to enter new worlds as A.I. and murals collide in the augmented reality segments. Donations between $10-50 are encouraged for the tours. 

Street Wise Arts Tours

Babe Wall

Defining a “Babe” as “a person(s) or group of people on an enlightened path, unidentified by gender, that empower and inspire each other by the community they are a part of, surrounding a particular craft or common interest,” Babe Wall is a non-profit that supports and uplifts women and non-binary artists. They create a space for artists to freely exist. Offering gallery shows and art tours.

Babe Wall Tours

Denver Walking Tours

Make your way over to Denver for the public art walking tour. Not just murals but statues and other forms of public art, can be seen along the way. Funded by 1% of capitol investments across the city, this program allows beautification and art appreciation for any major new project. Check out their website for stops along the tour.

Denver Walking Tours

Art Walk Longmont

A huge twice-yearly event, anyone who loves public art and outdoor spaces needs to attend. Including places to eat and drink, families can make a whole day out of the event and leave feeling inspired and connected to the community. 

Artwalk Longmont



Austin Clinkenbeard
Austin Clinkenbeard has been traveling the world with his wife for the past several years exploring food, history and culture along the way. He is a passionate advocate for stronger social science education and informed global travel. Austin holds degrees in Anthropology and Political Science from San Diego State. When he’s home there’s a good chance you can catch him cooking allergy friendly food. You can follow along Austin’s travel adventures and food allergy journey at www.NowWeExplore.com.

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