Shana Cordon and John Barbour have seen too many buildings sit empty in Denver as developers wait for a day when the spaces will be profitable; have seen too many businesses open up their walls for exhibits put together by owners who know nothing about art or how to attract people who would want to buy it; have seen too many artists pushed out of town because there are too few places to show work.
The duo's new project, Feral Factory, aims to fix these issues. A collaboration with RedLine, the RiNo Art District and other arts groups, Feral Factory plans to work with businesses to open new spaces for art shows and to host conversations about creative work and how it intersects with social issues.
The project was born of a conversation that Cordon and Barbour had with members of the RiNo Art District about how to "activate spaces" in the neighborhood to benefit not just developers, but the art community, as well.
Cordon says she and Barbour view themselves as curators: of art, performers and even businesses they plan to partner with to bring attention to artists in town. The company's financial model will combine ticketed events, art sales and workshops, and the founders imagine that one day Feral Factory could become a nonprofit with an emphasis on arts education.
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On Friday, February 24, Feral Factory will celebrate its launch and its first exhibit, a part of Month of Photography and the inaugural show in a four-month series looking at "urban collage," the idea that cities are made up of layers of people from various cultures, classes and backgrounds, Cordon explains.
The art will answer big questions, she says: "How do we exist with difference? How do we hear each other? How do we move forward as a unified society that is right now so fragmented by differences?"
The opening will run from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Crash, 2555 Walnut Street, and include performances by Gemma Wilcox, commedia dell’arte improvisation from Circo di Nada, spoken word from poet Brenton Weyi, and hip-hop from DJ Sosan.
For more information about the event, go to Feral Factory's website. Cordon and Barbour have also put out an open call for submissions for artists interested in participating in the ongoing exhibitions, and will be programming more Feral Factory events in the months to come.