Making space for art

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Artspace — a nonprofit organization that works to bring live-work space for artists — is taking a look at Lakewood as its next project location.

The organization was in town for two days, Aug. 21-22, on a preliminary feasibility visit to seek out possible locations for a live-work space, as well as meet with community artists, businesses and officials to see if there is an interest in creating this new kind of community in the city.

“This is really a discovery mission for us, to see what is here and what might be needed,” said Wendy Holmes, senior vice president of Consulting & Strategic Partnerships. “We’ve looked at eight or nine places where we could possibly set up a campus, and then spent a lot of time on focus groups with local artists as well as members of the finance community.”

Artspace mainly takes existing spaces that are not being used, and reworks them to be galleries, theaters and studios and apartments were artists can live and work. They have done work in Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles and Seattle.

They are currently working on a project in Loveland.

Artspace held a public meeting at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design to give those interested a chance to hear what Artspace does and ask questions. Bill Marino, who helps run the 40 West Arts district, was also on hand to help with questions.

“Artspace is a leading nonprofit in this area, and they’re all about keeping art in the place where it is,” said Mayor Bob Murphy, who attended the event along with Ward 2 Councilwoman Cindy Baroway and Ward 5 Councilman Tom Quinn. “We’ve made remarkable progress here with 40 West Arts, and Artspace’s values are our values.”

Murphy said the fact that Artspace works to keep artists in the communities they come from is a great thing for Lakewood, and the cultural community.

After this initial visit, the next steps would be an arts market study to see if there is really a need for this kind of housing, and from there they would work with the city to get a plan in motion.

“Lakewood is a special community, and we want to find a way to enhance it,” said David Ruchman. For more information on Artspace, visit www.artspace.org.

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