A District is Born

To the west of Denver, folksy Lakewood -- and in particular, the West Colfax corridor -- clearly had its work cut out when the idea of a new arts district began being bandied about more than a year ago. But sheer determination and a wonderful collaborative spirit, says 40 West Arts District spokesman Bill Martino, are what kept the concept going, meshing city officials, the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design and the community in a great big bear hug of mutual love for the arts. "It's a big deal for an area like West Colfax, which has been in decline over the years, to now see renewal taking place right before our eyes," Martino notes of the district, which was awarded an Emerging Creative District grant by the state earlier this year. Eventually, renovations and improvements will include everything from new streetscapes to public art in the area anchored by RMCAD and the soon-to-open Lamar Street light-rail station.

Lakewood invites you to see some of the changes-in-process this weekend as part of Inspire, a citywide arts-week celebration, when the empty shell of the future 40 West Gallery and Studios opens its doors for a huge peer-juried 40 West Inspire Art Exhibition featuring more than 120 works by fifty-plus intergenerational artists. Opening tonight from 5 to 9 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting at 5:30 p.m., the show continues from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday; food trucks and live entertainment will keep the streets lively all weekend, along with hands-on Family Day activities on Saturday and Creative Classes on Sunday.

All events, including classes, are free and open to the public at 40 West Gallery, 1560 Teller Street in Lakewood. For more information or to pre-register for classes, visit www.40westarts.org. And go to www.lakewood.org/inspire for a complete schedule of Inspire week events.
June 8-10, 2012


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