In late summer, Station 16, a Denver outpost of a popular Montreal street-art gallery, quietly departed from the Source Hotel and Market Hall in the River North Art District. The owners had reached an agreement with Zeppelin Development that it was time for the gallery to go.
“I think their focus went back on Montreal, and they had less time to take care of the space here,” says Mathieu Mudie, the retail director at Zeppelin Development, which operates the Source.
In the past few weeks, the hotel and market has hosted various pop-up exhibitions in the small gallery, but in late November, Zeppelin Development announced that the Balneario Art Gallery would be opening on Friday, December 13. The inaugural exhibit, Rock Paper Scissors, will include works from the experimental graphics collective La Madriguera Gráfica, Osiel Guerrero, Chirrete Golden and others.
The new gallery’s head, Isauro Hernández Rionda, launched his first arts space, Galería Balneario, in Querétaro, Mexico, in 2014. With deep ties to Mexico City’s thriving cultural scene and the international street-art world, Rionda will bring a slate of artists from across Latin America to Denver.
Over the past five years, Rionda has had international aspirations. The Querétaro-based gallery owner has taken his stable of artists to festivals around the world, including Art Basel in Miami and Denver’s Crush Walls in 2018. More recently, he has been organizing pop-ups at the Source.
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Balneario will be Rionda’s second full-time gallery space, and he plans to live here for much of the year.
“In the spring or end of winter, they’re moving here, spending most of their time here,” says Mudie. “They’ll be able to be grounded in the community here. That was something somewhat lacking with Station 16.”
Rionda views the Denver project as more than just an arts space; he sees it as culturally urgent in an era of heightened political strife between the United States and Mexico.
“Given the sociopolitical times the world is facing, we are living proof that no matter the differences in beliefs or countries, people can actually collaborate for a better and noble cause,” explains Rionda in a statement.
Rock Paper Scissors opens at 7 p.m., Friday, December 13, in the Balneario Art Gallery at the Source Hotel, 3330 Brighton Boulevard, galeriabalneario.com.