By Conor McCue

DENVER (CBS4) – A new effort to revitalize a stretch of West Colfax Avenue is underway in Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood. It includes brightening things up with a colorful new mural underneath the viaduct.

The mural will be debuted during a community event in the same under-utilized area next month. Organizers call it an example of using art to activate spaces, with the hope of eventually improving them more.

(credit: CBS)

Underneath one of Denver’s busiest roads, Julio “Juls” Mendoza” Mendoza has a blank canvas unlike any he’s ever worked on. With each pass of primer, he’s one step closer to his vision, a mural that’ll mask dull and aging concrete and revitalize a portion of Sun Valley.

“It’s going to feel safer and more friendly and welcoming to the people here,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza hopes to have the mural done ahead of an international night market, meant to showcase the area’s diverse food, music, and cultures.

“There’s a lot of big diversity here, and that’s what we’re trying to represent with this mural,” Mendoza said.

The event, organized and hosted by the Sun Valley Kitchen, West Colfax Business Improvement District, and Denver Streets Partnership, will be May 14 underneath the West Colfax Viaduct and would be the first of two events at the site this year. For organizers, it’s the first step in reimagining what parts of West Denver can be.

“This area has a lot of potential. It’s beginning to realize some of that potential,” said Dan Shah, executive director for the West Colfax Business Improvement District.

According to Shah, the next step will be improving the infrastructure of the viaduct itself, a project that will need public support.

(credit: CBS)

“What we’re trying to do is transform the viaduct into a place where people can safely get back and forth east and west by bike, by walking,” Shah said. “We really are looking for everybody to know about it and to be able to support it so that we can get as much buy in from as many people and the broader public and decision makers as possible.”

Until then, showing the potential of the area is the priority. For Mendoza, it’s not just painting, but instead highlighting the color and vibrancy of this community.

“It’s a challenge, but something I wanted to do,” he said. “I feel a responsibility to represent the community here, and I hope I can do the best to represent them the right way.”

The May 14 event is part of a series of international markets planned this year by the group West Denver Rising. Others are planned for the Morrison Road area and Little Saigon on South Federal.

Before that, signupgenius.com/go/508044bacac2aa3f58-sunvalley on Saturday April 30.

Conor McCue