Things have been a little edgy for the members of Edge Gallery since rising rents drove the co-op from the disappearing Navajo Arts District in 2017. The gallery, a Denver stalwart for the past few decades, first packed up and moved to Prism Workspaces in the La Alma/Lincoln Park neighborhood before following Pirate: Contemporary Art and Next Gallery to Lakewood’s 40 West Arts District. But the members who followed the gallery’s odyssey never found their first Lakewood space inviting.
“When we moved into our prior space, we looked at it as a temporary place to land so we could have shows again,” says Edge member and clay artist Gayla Lemke. “But it really wasn’t the kind of gallery space we wanted — it just didn’t have any energy. It was a difficult space to work in, and our lease was up at the end of September.”
They began to look for a better space, considering the 40 West complex where Pirate: Contemporary Art relocated three years ago, as well as Pasternack’s Art Hub, already home to fellow co-ops Next Gallery, Kanon Collective and, most recently, Core New Art Space. The sense of community in the Art Hub building gave off a vibe that Edge’s artists liked, so they took the leap.
Edge reopened at Pasternack's on October 4 for a trial run with new shows by Stephen Shugart and Faith Williams, and will host an official opening reception and lights-out evening (Shugart makes light sculptures) for the exhibitions on Friday, October 11, from 6 to 10 p.m. Edge members are happy to be settling into the new, 900-square-foot spot with a garage-door entryway, Lemke says.
“We’re excited about the move into a new space and having that new energy from being around other galleries,” Lemke says. “We were isolated where we were. Now we’ll be in the same building with three other galleries. On Navajo Street, it was nice because there was always someone else around. It’ll be great to have that sense of community back. And it’ll be nice to get more people coming in, so it’s a positive move for us.”
Not only is there a critical mass of artists in the building, but the surrounding 40 West Art District is supportive, too. “They really seem to try to have events to get the public out to attend, and generate an overall interest in the arts,” Lemke notes. With themed First Friday evenings and solidarity between galleries, Lakewood’s art community can only get better, as long as it remains affordable.
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There are some concerns about the Art Hub, though, which has suffered some serious bouts with street flooding, including a knee-high deluge through the building in July.
“It’s definitely something we had to think about, but apparently the city is looking into things they can do, and the landlord is taking steps to prevent it from happening again,” Lemke explains. “It’s a risk you take, moving into a different space. We did the walls so the drywall doesn’t reach all way to the bottom. And we’re taking steps so if the issue comes up, it will be easy to take care of.”
Right now, optimism is running high at Edge. “We’re doing really well," Lemke says. "After moving and shifting around the last few years, we lost some artists and we gained some, but we still have a good core group who can get things done. We’ve also gotten new members from Zip Gallery when they closed on Navajo Street — people who understand how co-ops work. If we can survive all the moving around, we’ll be okay.”
See work by Stephen Shugart and Faith Williams through October 13 at Edge Gallery, Pasternack’s Art Hub, 6851 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood. Opening later in October is a show with works by Katherine Johnson, Nolan Tredway and Rachael Amos; Gayla Lemke and Mala Setaram-Wolfe will show in November. Edge will finish the year with the annual Members’ Small Works Show for the holidays, opening after Thanksgiving. Learn more about Edge Gallery and its members online.