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To help commemorate Illegal Pete's 25th Anniversary in 2020, Founder and President Pete Turner saw both the need to improve and enhance each of its restaurants, and the opportunity to partner with a variety of local artists to meet those needs. The pandemic delayed everyone’s plans, and that was no different for Illegal Pete’s, but heading into more hopeful days of early 2021 it seemed exceedingly important to integrate more art into our world.  

RE:FRESH is Illegal Pete’s year-(plus)-long art project that will address business improvements through artistic collaboration. Pete has partnered with local arts producer Annie Geimer (Understudy and Meow Wolf) to assemble a team of artists that will solve each restaurant’s identified business upgrade.

To quote Pete,
“If we planned on making these ongoing improvements to help our business anyways, lets include creatives to make it more interesting and have some fun.”

This focus on support and connection is born from Pete Turner Sr’s family legacy in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, supporting then-unknown artist Grant Wood and his family during his early career. Grant lived and painted in Turner Mortuary’s carriage house: it was here where Wood painted American Gothic, bringing him immediate national and international acclaim. This legacy cemented in Pete Jr his fiercely-held values around supporting the arts through business, which is foundational to Illegal Pete’s. 

Believing art to be one of the key things to have both immediate and lasting impact in our communities, Illegal Pete’s continues the tradition of nurturing and supporting creative endeavors. This attitude has led to partnerships with Youth on Record, Pop Culture Classroom, High Plains Comedy Festival and DUSK Music Festival in Tucson, Arizona. RE:FRESH celebrates 25-years of creative collaboration by bringing it home to each of its restaurants.  

Follow along as we spotlight each project and artist throughout the RE:FRESH journey. 

We hope you enjoy! 

Olive Moya

This installation was intended to kick off the whole RE:FRESH project, but after its completion the remaining activations were postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic. This project involved a special collaboration with suicide prevention advocacy nonprofit, Hope For The Day, which uses the tag line "It's OK not to be OK" to convey a message of hope and empathy. This message seemed timely and, despite everything else being at a halt, everyone part of this project agreed without hesitation that producing this mural during Mental Health Awareness Month was a must.

Learn More About Olive

Ellie Lindsey

Embarking on this project immediately following the launch of the brand's refresh of colors, icons, and type, artist Ellie Lindsey, a graduate of the Denver School of the Arts just a few short blocks away from the restaurant, found a way to bring our newest location to life with a vibrant mural that drew from the colors in the new brand palette and took the La Loteria card tradition back to its core.

Learn More About Ellie

The space behind restaurants and in alleys can often feel dark and unwelcoming. With staff using the space during their breaks and guests parking behind the restaurant, we wanted to make the area bright and inviting. The mural created on the front of the building the year prior by Olive Moya brought a message of hope and acceptance to those who might need it. We wanted to extend this thinking to the back, to the spaces that usually don't get attention.

Learn More About Moe

Moe Gram

Dress up the facade of the restaurant, which had been a bland beige with dimly-lit sign that is often passed over. Also, to pay homage to the very first work of art that was used to paper the front windows of the original Hill location in 1995.

Learn More About Jay

Jaime Molina and Pedro Barrios have been transforming space through their mural work in Denver for years. South Broadway is a central hangout for locals and travelers alike; we wanted to punctuate how special it is by turning up the dial and setting the restaurant in a lush and vibrant “The More, The Merrier” oasis, framing the restaurant’s activity and participants as the action in this landscape.