Art News

Property Tax Hike Forcing Helikon to Close After 2019

Early September 6, Helikon Gallery & Studios announced on social media that by the end of 2019, it will be closing its doors for good.

Located at 3675 Wynkoop Street in the ever-growing River North Art District, Helikon has become a place for local artists to rent studio space and for international contemporary, lowbrow and pop/surreal artists to showcase their work.

But the six-year-old gallery was hit with a 300 percent property-tax increase this summer, which exceeds the combined rent from all studio spaces in the building.

"Despite our best efforts to maintain an accessible space and affordable studios for artists, we’re left with little choice but to increase rent to accommodate for this new expense," the gallery says in an online statement.

Helikon appealed the property-tax increase to the City of Denver, but was denied.

The gallery opened in October 2013 in its current location — a building that owner Cayce Goldberg's grandfather built in 1974. At 10,000 square feet, the structure holds two exhibition spaces, fourteen studios, a classroom, coffee shop and retail space, with the idea that "art galleries function effectively as public services — conduits to culture where we can absorb and admire artwork, design, and aesthetics," according to Helikon's statement.

After it closes at the end of the year, Helikon has no plans to continue in any capacity.

"Our facilities will gradually transition towards other uses by outside parties that can sustain the increased cost of business into 2020," the gallery explains.

Denver has been losing galleries in recent years; their owners and organizers point to rising rents and other increased costs as insurmountable issues. Some shuttered galleries have become nomadic, like Gildar Gallery and the garage-based Peralta Projects; others, including Pirate: Contemporary Art and Next, have relocated to cheaper spots in Lakewood's 40 West Arts District. And still others, such as Goodwin Fine Art, are gone for good. Soon Helikon will be added to that list.

In the meantime, Helikon plans to host its scheduled shows for 2019 and will remain open and operating through the final First Friday of the year.