The Art of Running an Artist Residency Out of a Garage

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When Andrea Moore's artists' residency culminates in an opening, it's nothing glamorous. After all, it happens in her garage. "It's rough," she says. "There's only one finished wall, so it's not like there's a whole lot of presentation space."

Still, there's something charming about The Detached Garage — literally the detached garage behind her house in northeast Denver's Clayton neighborhood — a tiny space where Moore, an artist and performer herself, has been hosting artists since 2010. "When I first bought it" in 2008, she recalls, "it had drywall on one side, it was unfinished, but it had a workbench and electric, and I was immediately like, 'Oh my God, this would be a dream studio... if only I were that type of artist.'"

Moore is a photographer, writer and performer — not the type of artist who really needs a studio. But she's also an enterprising arts supporter, and the idea of helping out other artists appealed to her right away.

"My dream then was actually to create a retreat center for individuals and groups that would also be an artist residency, a community learning center and a camp. I had this compound in the woods in my head, and I was like, how can I make this more practical? So even though I just had this little space, I knew someone could use it better."

And so it began. Moore keeps an official-looking residency application online, but she says for the most part, the artists who end up residents have come to her organically — often at the space itself. The last two residents approached her at the openings of the residents before. That was the case for current resident Alexandria Jimenez, whose show Something Like It opens at the Garage tomorrow night; Jimenez is also program director at PlatteForum, a nonprofit that connects artists with underprivileged kids, where Moore has served as resident before.

"She's a digital media artist working in analog with all these adding machines and old-school typewriters," says Moore of Jimenez's show. "She's created these viewing boxes with looped video running, so you have to peer into one like you would with those old viewfinders. One of the pieces is a female hand, and all you can see is these long, manicured nails feeding a male mouth — a banana, a Popsicle — and it keeps getting nastier and nastier. It's gross. I like it."

See the installation tomorrow from 6 - 9 p.m. at the garage in front of 3530 Clayton Street; Moore also opens up her home (and bathroom) and provides snacks and beer. "My hope is that the Detached Garage can be a truly inclusive free social event, where people can find something new, see something different and connect with their neighbors," she says. And maybe become the next resident.

As far as that goes, Moore says, "I want to be frank: I give this almost no attention whatsoever. But what has happened has been pretty cool."

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