DIY gallery space Inca House closes up shop
American Culture playing at the Inca House last winter.
When artists Taylor Boylston and Chelsea Bashford recently decided to officially "close" Inca House, their home gallery and show space, it was for reasons all too common to a DIY spot: the rent got to be too much and people weren't respecting the venue. "We felt like people were taking advantage of our space and things were getting stolen and broken and mistreated," says Boylston, who acknowledges that these issues are perils inherent to opening your home to the public and insists they won't stop her from trying again in the future. But for now, Inca House is no more.
Inca House co-curator Taylor Boylston.
"In the future I want to keep having shows and doing stuff like this, but in a safe space that is more separated from my living and personal space," says Boylston. "It needs to be a little more public, not a space filled with little trinkets and things and stuff to put in your pockets and go home with. But I mean, that's all fine and totally to be expected."
What was unexpected was the rent hike that the artist and her roommate and co-curator faced when their lease on the house was up. "The other part is that our landlord was raising the rent by $400. The house technically is a one-bedroom -- it was kind of ridiculous," says Boylston. "I thought about living by myself for a while. I was looking at studio apartments and was like, why do these all sound insanely expensive? I used to live in L.A. where rent was astronomical -- just for fun, I was looking at what studios cost in the neighborhood where I used to live in in L.A. It is cheaper to live in that neighborhood than it is to live in Denver right now."
This doesn't mean she's done with Denver, though. Boylston recently spoke with the landlord of long-running DIY warehouse space Rhinoceropolis, and says he may have some other properties appropriate for what she wants to do.
Boylston sees DIY venues as vital to the art scene's growth and very existence. "I feel like that's where everything begins -- in DIY spaces," she says. "Without them, I know Denver would not be what it is. If Rhino wasn't around or if some of these other places didn't exist, there wouldn't be anywhere for young kids to congregate and come up with ideas and have the freedom for them to make things happen."
After deciding to close up shop, Boylston and Bashford considered taking Inca House in a totally different direction and making it a mobile experience. "Initially, our plan was to do an 'Inca House on wheels' and take an old, refurbished camper and travel the country bringing art and music from different places to other places in a kind of analog way," Boylston says. "I just feel like so much art and music is reached to people these days through digital media."
But for now, that idea is on the back burner.
And what about the Daniel Johnston art show that Inca House wanted to bring to Denver and was raising money for last year? "That is such a hard thing for my heart to handle -- we just never got the money together for it," says Boylston. "It was really disappointing. I had reached out to a lot of different potential sponsors who seemed stoked and supportive, but never came through. I still think it is an opportunity that might happen sometime down the road, but as of now, no. One day, it will definitely happen."
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