On August 29, 2022, the Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) Division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) announced three new recipients of the Community Revitalization Grant, including one in Gunnison, Colorado.
This program is intended to help creative districts, historic districts, main streets and neighborhood commercial centers across Colorado revitalize community spaces.
“Creative industries employed 92,000 Coloradans in 2020 and generated $12 billion in industry earnings. This represents an important contribution to Colorado’s economy, yet we know performing arts organizations and the live music industry are still working to restore pre-pandemic jobs and earnings. These Community Revitalization grants will help advance the creative industries in Colorado and contribute to continued recovery. We want to see these communities and the creatives who call them home thrive,” stated 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.
The three recipients are located in Golden, Gunnison and Aurora:
Miners Alley – $2,500,000
The Miners Alley Playhouse will convert the recently closed Meyer Hardware store building in downtown Golden at 1103 Arapahoe Street into the Miners Alley Performing Arts Center.
The performing arts and community center will include a state-of-the-art theater complex with a 300-seat theater, two units of artist housing, classrooms, public spaces, and a town square for the entire community.
The Miners Alley Playhouse building has been a community hub for seventy-five years as Meyer Hardware and represents a large piece of property right in the heart of historic downtown Golden.
This project will become a valuable asset to Golden and will continue the space’s legacy as a community hub while celebrating Golden’s history and providing an amenity which the residents have long been calling for.
Gunnison Arts Center Renovation- $1,550,000
Gunnison Arts Center (GAC) will renovate an existing building to allow the organization to expand and enhance arts programming, create flexible event spaces, welcome more participants, upgrade outdated infrastructure to improve energy efficiency, serve as a catalyst to spur local economic activity, and celebrate the artistic and historic character of the community.
GAC’s 139-year-old historic building sits at the intersection of Highway 50 and 135, in the heart of downtown Gunnison. The 12,000 square-foot building is home to a theater, studios for dance, ceramics, music, multimedia arts, two galleries, and a local art gift shop.
The GAC is the anchor institution for the newly state-certified Gunnison Creative District (GCD). This project additionally supports the GCD and its unique synergies between the university, businesses, nonprofits, and government that support a strong creative economy.
The arts and creative industries provide an opportunity to create job and build new businesses. Educational offerings, professional connections, and technology assistance also allow GAC to bolster creative entrepreneurs in the community.
Aurora Arts Facility Renovation – $197,000
The project is a facility renovation of the City of Aurora’s 1400 Dallas Arts building located in the Aurora Cultural Arts District (ACAD).
The facility has been used as space for emerging, local artists in the District and is in mid-renovation to reconstruct and renovate it for re-use. The Aurora Cultural Arts District recently received a Creative District Designation by CCI and this facility supports the on-going effort to provide affordable space for local artists.
There has been significant planning and community engagement to address the need for artist space, with the primary goal of expanding artistic programming and opportunities for diverse segments of the population to develop their art.
Providing affordable space and emphasizing cross-cultural collaboration and education will improve artists’ ability to be self-sustaining and achieve a higher level of activity in the District.
This will in turn bring new patrons and customers to the District, which supports the growth of local business in the Colfax corridor.
The intention for the renovated facility is to “curate” its artistic use so that there is a balance of artistic orientation represented (theater, visual arts, dance, music, exhibit space, etc.) and an educational component where workshops and classes support continual artistic growth.
2019 photo of downtown Gunnison is by Mshuang2 via Wikipedia.