On September 12, 2022, the Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) Division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) announced six new recipients of the Community Revitalization Grant, including projects in Ignacio, Mancos, and Steamboat Springs. This program is intended to help creative districts, historic districts, main streets and neighborhood commercial centers across Colorado revitalize community spaces.
“These projects represent the power of intentional, mixed-use development to generate economic vitality through the arts as well as create much-needed community spaces throughout Colorado. These accessible buildings will serve as economic and cultural hubs for residents and visitors alike. It is no accident that the creative industries in our state are setting the standard for creative community development across the country,” said Margaret Hunt, Director of Colorado Creative Industries.
Community Revitalization grants support creative projects that combine several uses, such as creative industry workforce housing, commercial spaces, performance space, community gathering spaces, child care centers, and retail partnerships. The projects must also focus on economic recovery and diversification by supporting creative sector entrepreneurs, artisans, and community non-profit organizations.
Colorado’s Creative Industries Division, Colorado’s state arts agency, is a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Established to capitalize on the immense potential for our creative sector to enhance economic growth in Colorado, the mission of Colorado Creative Industries is to promote, support and expand the creative industries to drive Colorado’s economy, grow jobs and enhance our quality of life.
The following applicants have been awarded:
Dancing Spirit – $500,000 – Ignacio, Colorado
Dancing Spirit will build a new 4,032-square-foot community arts center. The project responds to community efforts to revitalize downtown, provide community gathering spaces, support artists and artisans, and create destinations to attract visitors.
The new building will provide a permanent home for Dancing Spirit, which supports art and personal expression as catalysts for community engagement and celebration of diverse ideas, lifestyles, and beliefs. The center will also serve as a meeting point for diverse cultures. Ignacio is home to the Southern Ute people, a large Hispanic population, area ranchers and rodeo culture, as well as people who identify as LGBTQ+.
Over the years, Dancing Spirit has developed inclusive relationships with Ignacio school district, The Southern Ute Tribe, the Tribe’s Wellness Court, the Southern Ute Montessori Academy, ELHI Community Center, and many other local non-profit services and organizations, serving the need for art education and creative outlets in the community at large.
Boulder Studio Arts Center – $1,500,000 – Boulder, Colorado
Studio Arts Boulder is building a 12,000-square-foot community art education center in the City of Boulder. The “studio arts” are visual artforms that require significant investment in space, equipment and safety precautions that are often beyond the means of most individuals.
The new facility will include five teaching studios specifically designed for affordable and accessible community programs in ceramics, blacksmithing, woodworking, “warm” glass, and printmaking. The interior features an open lobby that will serve as a gallery for exhibitions and events. With a kitchenette and varied seating, the central “living room” gallery will encourage students and staff to build connections outside of class.
On the second floor, a dedicated “flex” space will transform from conference and meeting uses to teaching, event, and rental spaces that can be used by other nonprofits at no cost. The facility will add to Colorado’s community infrastructure and be a model for inclusive, welcoming spaces.
Center for the Arts Evergreen – $750,000 – Evergreen, Colorado
The Center for the Arts Evergreen (CAE) Phase II expansion project includes a 5,000-square-foot addition to its existing home in a renovated historic church and schoolhouse in the Bergen Park area of Evergreen, Colorado. The new space will be thoughtfully and efficiently comprising a large mixed-use community room, six rental studios for practicing artists, five offices for full-time staff, and a dedicated all-inclusive ceramics facility.
The capacity of the open concept mixed-use space, serving up to 50 practicing artists or over 200 event attendees, is a key component of CAE’s mission-driven objective to bring the arts and the community together. The renovated outdoor spaces, including a large, heated courtyard and a community sculpture garden, have also been planned with keen attention to the broadest opportunities for use, including performing arts and family-friendly events hosted in the open air.
Further, “garage door” walls will enable flow-through from mixed-use indoor space to a communal outdoor patio for enhanced accessibility and utilization. CAE plays an important role in the livability and economic vitality of the mountain community and the artist-in-residence program enabled by the addition of private studio space further enhances CAE’s distinction as a cultural destination and cornerstone of the mountain community.
Mancos Commons – $1,300,000 – Mancos, Colorado
Mancos Common Press (MCP) was formed in 2013 to establish a center dedicated to the printer’s art while restoring and reusing the historic Mancos Times-Tribune Building as a community-based facility for students and graphics artists.
In addition to the restoration of the building, a core component of MCP’s strategic plan has been to create additional space for workshops, retail sales, residential and office space. The new Mancos Commons building will be located at 129 W. Grand Avenue in downtown Mancos and adjacent to the existing MCP building.
The building will be a 4,000 square foot, two-story mixed-use development including three single-bedroom affordable housing units, large workshop space, and retail and office space. A pocket park will provide a casual and welcoming outdoor community gathering space, in alignment with the vision of creating a “commons” area, where all feel welcome.
Strawberry Park Amphitheater – $125,000 – Steamboat Springs, Colorado
This project features construction of a 200-seat outdoor performance space on the Strawberry Park Elementary School Campus in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The Steamboat School District, RE-2, owns the property and will be the principal collaborator with Piknik Theater (Yampa Valley Performing Arts Council) which has a 20-year lease on the property.
It is anticipated that this facility, the only one of its kind in Northwestern Colorado, will be used for various outdoor performances by regional arts groups, local schools, and local community groups. It will also be suitable for outdoor educational activities for the school district, especially during the school year, and as a community outdoor gathering venue.
As crucial as this project will be for Piknik Theater programming, including youth theater workshops, it will be equally important for other local performing arts groups, civic groups, and student education by providing the only outdoor venue specifically designed for these organizations.
MCA Denver at the Holiday Theater – $400,000 – Denver, Colorado
MCA is looking to the future by expanding their footprint through a satellite site: The Holiday Theater, a historic building in north Denver. MCA Denver has a long-term lease for the theater space (7 years plus two additional options to renew for a total of 21 years). This expansion advances MCA’s mission through community engagement, expanded programming, audience growth, and creative experimentation.
MCA Denver’s programming challenges conventional expectations of what a museum can be and aims to create a welcoming space, bringing fresh, relevant art and ideas to the community in meaningful and novel ways.
As a community-forward partner, MCA aims to honor the history of the Holiday Theater and the community that shaped that history through programming and partnership. MCA will showcase place-based art, collaborate with a range of cultural producers to include, and amplify a spectrum of creative ideas and provide resources to young people, creatives, artists, and other stakeholders that nurture their growth and creative development.
Photo (by katkimchee via Wikipedia) shows downtown Steamboat Springs in May of 2006 with the ski area in the background.