Praxis Creative Arts Space is gone -- because of a lease dispute, or the Westword curse?
Praxis Creative Arts Space is not just off the grid -- it's gone altogether. A month after its founder, Joshua (no last names, please) was featured in "Free for All," Josiah Hesse's July 25 cover story on people living off the grid, the community group that Joshua had founded with a few friends near Denver's Art District on Santa Fe (no addresses, please), was evicted from its space. Hesse had interviewed Joshua in that space, where Joshua -- who has a master's in mathemathics from the University of Colorado -- had lived with a revolving cast of characters, operated a "free store" and occasionally hosted unauthorized events.
Some have suggested that Praxis's problems stem from the "Westword curse," which dooms DIY spaces after they've gotten attention from the media. But that curse is more urban legend than reality; most DIY spaces close because it's tough running community spaces long-term. Or even short-term.
The founders of Unit E, which won our Best New DIY Venue in the Best of Denver 2012, had always planned to disband after their lease expired, and did so late last year -- after winning a Best Rentlessless DIY Venue in the Best of Denver 2013. Other DIY spaces disbanded because of personal reasons or, like Blast-O-Mat, said they were closing but just kept going.
And the landlord of the warehouse at 1120 West 12th Avenue that housed Praxis, Joshua and company had already set the eviction in motion. "The tenant at that address is gone for reasons other than the Westword article," he says. "It was headed toward this."
The tenant was evicted on August 26, the same day this message was posted by "Schwa" on the Praxis Facebook page:
It's been a hellish month. Due to intensely hostile and viscous attacks from the asshole slumlord that owns our building, we were forced to close our doors today. It's a long story (one that will be told another day), but this man is one of the most deplorable and deceitful people that any of us have ever had to deal with. Seriously, the depths of this man's malice cannot be exaggerated. HOWEVER! The amazing support we have had from the community over the last few months has been amazing, beautiful, and inspiring. Thank you one and all! And this will certainly not destroy the spirit of Praxis! It may take a minute, but we will rise again, no doubt. Gogo Praxis 2.0! (And fuck slumlords.)
That was the last post on the site, except for a note that Leela's would host a benefit later that week, to "help Praxis with relocation costs and potential legal fees. And it's going to be rad!!!"
Read the original story, as well as many comments -- including one in which a neighbor outed the Praxis address -- here on westword.com. And if you have other examples of the "Westword curse," post them below.
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