Meet the woman bringing a world-famous street art festival to Denver – 5280

In an alleyway behind Denver Central Market, a 10-by-20-foot painted wall features hip-hop artist Sa-Roc’s face surrounded by organic lines in black and white. The piece might not seem all that special considering it’s one of dozens at the mural-filled RiNo, but savvy art seekers know it holds a secret.

“I Am Her” (pictured) was created by Ally Grimm, a street artist who goes by the alias AL Grime. She made the mural for Crush Walls 2020 and when viewed on a smartphone via the Artivive app, the piece plays the rapper’s music, his painted lines dance and his eyes blink.

This fall, Grimm, 30, will exhibit the same innovative blend of street art and technology at the debut of Denver Walls (September 22-26) – a branch of Hawaii-based Worldwide Walls that beautifies cities, connects talent and educates communities about street art on. As director of the Colorado event, Grimm plans to commission 12 to 15 works from local and international artists that will adorn the walls in RiNo and other areas not only with color but also with hidden virtual experiences. “Thematically, my work is about the intersection of people and technology,” says Grimm, whose digitally enhanced murals often show women, music and science. “So it felt natural and organic for me to build that kind of intersection into the festival as well.”

In addition to discovering new interactive works (as well as traditional murals) by Grimm and others, visitors with an Ethereum cryptocurrency wallet can participate in a scavenger hunt to find free, non-fungible tokens — in this case, blockchain-authenticated souvenirs — that can be found at locations are nestled near the art. “So you have this memorabilia to remember you visited the walls during Denver Walls,” says Grimm. Guests will also wander through a virtual sculpture garden; Invisible to the naked eye, the pieces are only accessible via illust.space, a web-based platform.

Grimm hopes the event will increase people’s understanding of the medium she loves. “To me, street art actually refers to [everything from] from murals to street photography to streetwear because it’s walking, living art,” says Grimm. “And my definition has also expanded to include digital art because it can live anywhere seamlessly. [I just want] to show that the limit of what is defined as ‘art’ is really much bigger than people realize.”

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