Artists free to celebrate their stories as outdoor events fully open in Denver

Lungala Rubadiri at his art show
Posted at 5:26 PM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 19:26:57-04

DENVER — Denver has removed all restrictions for outdoor events, and among the many parts of everyday life that are starting to reopen fully is the art scene.

Take Denver's Park Hill Art Festival, for example.

Lungala Rubadiri drove 1,000 miles to partake in the festival on Sunday. He lives in Los Angeles, where outdoor venues and events are still closed.

"I had no guess as to what a pandemic would have meant to us. I'm trying to think, I don't know if I'll fully comprehend what it means to come out," Rubadiri said. "I was not able to do shows, and business, of course, was hit really big."

His business is more than dollars and cents. Rubadiri said his shows are about connection and storytelling — things that were inhibited with social distance.

"Sometimes we don't understand the value of each other until we lose them. And in the pandemic, we were forced to stay away," he said. "Coming together, this is perhaps more clear of what we are doing, celebrating. And we have to keep that to heart."

More than 60% of Denverites have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination shot, and case rates continue to plummet. Gov. Jared Polis mentioned on Friday the correlation between vaccines and coronavirus spread.

"it's a direct correlation everywhere in the state" Polis said. "You look at some of the areas of our state with the highest vaccination numbers... there's hardly any COVID right now. They are either at or very close to that herd immunity level where COVID simply doesn't circulate because you have 70% or more of the population vaccinated."

Areas with lower vaccination rates, such as El Paso and Mesa counties, continue to see higher spread.

"This is no surprise," Polis said. "The areas that have lower vaccination rates have much higher COVID rates, and the areas with the highest vaccination rates have very low COVID rates."