Artspace, the Minneapolis-based nonprofit devoted to creating affordable spaces for artists, has been exploring options for a project in metro Denver for well over a decade. Three years ago, it zeroed in on a plan to build 85 units of affordable housing and 3,000 square feet of workshop and performance space in the RiNo Art District.
But a fast-tracked schedule for the North Wynkoop development created a financing roadblock for that Artspace project in RiNo, so the organization and city officials have gone back to the drawing board in Denver. Meanwhile, Aurora has high hopes that an affordable-housing project for artists might fly in that city just east of Denver.
And so from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30, the Aurora Cultural Arts District and the city of Aurora are hosting the Aurora Artspace Survey Launch Party, kicking off an effort to survey members of the metro area’s creative community on what they want in affordable live/work housing, studio and other creative work spaces.
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The event, held at the People’s Building, 9995 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora, will start with a presentation from Artspace officials, who first visited Aurora back in 2017 and have conducted a preliminary feasibility study involving tours, focus groups and meetings with the community. The survey marks the second phase of the effort to bring more artist live/work space to Aurora; it will go live on April 30 and be open until June 11. Find it at AuroraCreativeSpaceSurvey.org.
The survey launch party will include food, drinks, conversation and music from Nueva Escuela de Musica. An RSVP is requested at AuroraArtspaceSurveyLaunch.eventbrite.com, which invites you to "help us think big about affordable creative space in Aurora."
The building where the launch party will be held represents a successful campaign for creative space. It previously held a ski shop and then a People’s Rent-to-Own. When Aurora officials decided the city needed an arts and events space in the Aurora Cultural Arts District, they purchased the property and spent $2.5 million revamping it into two separate spaces: The Gallery, which hosts meetings, small receptions and art installations, and The Flex, a multi-purpose room with 191 retractable cushioned seats.
Smart curation and affordable rent has kept those spaces filled much of the time. The April 30 Artspace event promises to be another lively evening that could lead to something big. Despite the disappointment in Denver, Artspace has realized huge successes in other states, and the group has already developed a project in Loveland, with two more in the works in Colorado: one in Trinidad and another in Ridgway.