Lowbrow opened at 250 Broadway in June 2012, then moved down the street to 38 Broadway. On December 24, that location will close its doors for good. But Lowbrow isn't over: Owners Lauren Seip and Tymla Welch are going to re-create the business without a permanent brick-and-mortar home.
The original shop focused on arts and crafts workshops, but Seip and Welch realized that while those were fun, the classes were expensive and time-consuming. They decided to focus instead on the retail end of the business, selling art supplies, vinyl toys and other gifts and collectibles; a staple in the store is a vending machine turned display, Xena, which houses a "XXX Section” of coloring books, calendars and other adult-themed gifts.
Lowbrow has also hosted signings, meetups and parties with Kidrobot, a retailer focusing on limited-edition vinyl toys, and artists including Brandt Peters, Kathie Olivas, Ghostfree Hood and Skinner. It's hosted 72 shows since opening, too, including displays of works by the Ladies Fancywork Society, a crochet-art collective. The group had its first show in the space and has resided in the basement of the shop ever since.
“The gallery has been one of our favorite parts of the shop,” Seip says. But the decision to close the doors came as the duo saw their focus shifting toward retail instead of events, installation work and exhibitions.
“As the landscape changed around us, we realized it was time for us to evolve as well,” Seip adds.
Lowbrow is one of many Broadway businesses that have moved from the neighborhood or shut down altogether this year. Famous Pizza served its last pie in August, and Hazel and Dewey moved to the River North Arts District.
While Seip is sad to see their storefront go, she’s optimistic about the future of the area.
“The Broadway neighborhood has always been a place of evolution and change, and now is no different,” she explains. “Some of the changes do feel pretty astronomical at the moment, but as long as our favorites still have a home here, we’re excited to see what it brings.”
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The store's closure also coincides with the Denver art scene going through rapid changes. With long-term DIY spaces Rhinoceropolis and Glob shut down by the city two years ago and still trying to reopen and Meow Wolf coming to town, more short-term DIY and interactive shows have been cropping up around the area.
Lowbrow has already joined the growing trend, hosting pop-up events and partnering with other groups.
“Our goal is to just continue being supportive of the Denver art scene in all the ways we can,” Seip says. “We just want to make sure to do our part to keep the cool and original things about Denver thriving.”
Follow Lowbrow on Facebook for more information about upcoming events.