In the heart of Five Points, Denver's Historic black neighborhood, spaces and faces have been changing rapidly over the past decade. While art galleries have blossomed in nearby RiNo, Welton Street has been slower to develop — at least when it comes to new arts organizations.
No longer. Enter Rare Tempo, an art space set to open April 1, showcasing local and international artists.
The gallery, opened by Denver creatives, entrepreneurs and partners Anh Phan and Nick Hinckley, aims to be a "chameleon-like space." Its goal: "People from different backgrounds, income levels and artistic styles all contribute to the diversity of the conversation, and therefore the diversity of art and creativity."
The gallery has chosen a fitting theme for April Fool's Day: "Inappropriate Humor." The show was curated based on the results of a competition launched by Rare Tempo and Ello, a Denver-based social network for artists. Westword recently spoke with Phan and Hinckley, who responded as a duo, about their vision for the new space.
Westword: What is the inspiration behind this gallery and its name?
Phan/Hinckley: Tempo, when not applied to music, is the pace at which life occurs. We related to this when examining all that we've been through in such a short period of time. We decided on the name Rare Tempo when looking at "contemporary" and its deconstructed form in the dictionary.
You've had involvement in lots of Denver art projects. What are they, and how have they influenced you?
Creative Mornings, TedxMileHigh, Adobe Creative Jam, The Wayfaring Band, Gritz Gaskan, and the Paper Fashion Show are a few of our collaborative and creative partnerships. Nick and I differ in so many ways, but one of the things we have in common is an entrepreneurial spirit, stubborn ambition and a passion for working with others to make a difference while continuing to create. It's not always profitable, but it's always worth it.
How do you think this space will serve the Denver arts community in a specific and unique way that's different than other galleries in the area?
Our goal for Rare Tempo is to be a complementary part of the Denver arts community while simultaneously showcasing artists from around the globe. This is important to us, because we feel it's far too easy to fall into creative cliques and never experience the raw talent and unique perspectives that are out there. You can still support local and experience global.
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Denver has changed a lot in recent years: There are more people; it's pricier to live here. In what ways do you think that's been beneficial? Downsides?
As Denver has grown and expanded culturally, there's always a risk of smothering what came before. The upside is that we're able to attract talent from all over to contribute to the art scene. The potential downside is that we risk creating a culture of exclusion. As we grow, literally and figuratively, it's imperative that we collectively keep an open mind. It's important to us to not be a creative community that isolates itself, but be a welcomed part of the existing community.
Who has helped you with this project? Who has been influential in assisting you with other projects or acted as a mentor?
Rare Tempo happened by chance. We had a space, a potential partnership and a business idea. The partnership didn't happen, so we reached out to Ello, who wowed us with their willingness to collaborate and their creative energy. We realized very quickly that we shared the same values, and are more excited every day to be creating a space for experiencing and supporting amazing artists.
Rare Tempo celebrates its opening from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, at 2958 Welton Street. For more information, visit Rare Tempo's website.