Music News

Downtown Artery Shutters Its Music Venue and Cafe in Fort Collins

Chris Frain at Downtown Artery, 2015.
Chris Frain at Downtown Artery, 2015. Chris Frain
The Downtown Artery, a Fort Collins music and arts space, announced on Facebook that it will close its venue and coffee shop as of November 1.

With a 300-person capacity, the venue has been a stalwart supporter of independent music since it opened several years ago. But while its closure is a big loss for the Front Range music scene, the gallery's upstairs space and studios will remain open for the arts community to use.

The Downtown Artery opened with lofty goals. "It’s about filling community needs,” Artery director William Knudsen told Westword in 2015. “Fort Collins has this really beautiful, vibrant scene that supports musicians and artists, but it’s not quite there yet. So, we have these music venues, but they’re very much niche venues. They bring in specific types of bands, but we saw a large part of the community that wasn’t being served.”

Knudsen promised that "pairing national touring acts with locals is going to be a huge focus for us, and having an eclectic mix. The emphasis is quality.”

And the venue delivered, hosting artists including the Mountain Goats, Kevin Morby, In the Whale, Wheelchair Sports Camp and Wilderness.

click to enlarge Chris Frain at Downtown Artery, 2015. - CHRIS FRAIN
Chris Frain at Downtown Artery, 2015.
Chris Frain
Members of the music community mourned the loss on the Downtown Artery's Facebook page. "Really sad to hear this!" wrote Kyle Hartman. "Y’all put on such great shows and it was an extremely rad venue."

"You guys have always treated Native Station and the music scene so well!" added Native Station keyboardist Brandon Clark. "We're sad to see you go, but hopefully new adventures on the horizon for you all!"

"This venue was the best!" said Caryn Sanchez. "Such a welcoming vibe and the coolest staff. You’ll be missed!"

While Fort Collins has turned itself into a live-music destination and a supportive city for artists with ample funding from the Bohemian Foundation, sizable independent venues supporting local artists are becoming increasingly rare along the Front Range. And Fort Collins, despite its ample offerings, doesn't have another space quite like the Artery. 
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris