Arts and Culture

High fiber: The TACtile Textile Arts Center gets a fresh start in the Golden Triangle

Founded in 2006 by former fabric retailer Dianne Denholm, the TACtile Textile Arts Center was envisioned as a nonprofit center where regional practitioners in all disciplines of the fiber arts could meet, teach classes and display their work. Conceived as a local version of the Textile Center in Minneapolis, which doubles as a museum and networking hub while preserving traditional arts from tatting to weaving (and everything in between), TACtile opened in the now-defunct Tamarac Square mall, where it flourished as an exhibit space, shop and meet-up spot for various textile-arts guilds.

It was a juggling act, but Denholm's merchandising skills made the exhibition area beautiful enough to fit into the mall setting, while behind-the-scenes areas remained open and flexible for use by different artisan groups.

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TACtile was on its way to becoming a well-oiled machine when Tamarac's demise was announced, and the center was forced to find a new home in 2010. That search ended on the second floor of the JHB International Inc. wholesale button warehouse in southeast Denver, a space that offered room to grow, though the industrial location proved difficult to find. Easier accessibility and exposure remained always in the back of Denholm's mind while TACtile stitched together a continuing agenda, but her ideas for pop-up exhibitions and better visibility were stymied by fundraising deficits, and she eventually left the nonprofit, which continued on at JHB. Until now. In the wake of JHB owner Jean Barr's passing, her family sold the business and now the building, providing just the momentum TACtile needed to make a move of the kind that Denholm once envisioned -- to a new Golden Triangle location that's right in the thick of Denver's cultural life. "We wanted to give TACtile a chance to grow and reach out to new audiences," explains operations director Pat Tucker. "The building was referred to us by Denver Arts and Venues, and it seemed like a good fit. The museum district is a good place for us to find the audience we've been trying to reach. The fiber arts are growing, but they've been underrepresented."

The new TACTile opens to the public June 6 with a First Friday reception from 6 to 9 p.m. for the wearable-art exhibition Wearing My Art on My Sleeve. Housed in a converted townhome complex on Bannock Street, the venue will include a retail shop, gallery and work space.

For more information, visit the TACtile Textile Arts Center online or on Facebook.

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd