Certified Creative Districts
Colorado's Creative District Certification Program is in the process of updating the application guidelines for 2014. Please check back for the final application guidelines the first week of January 2014.
Beyond the Gallery
Beyond the Gallery returns for its second season, featuring artists and creatives who are uniquely Colorado.
This web tv series, created by ZW Film, features the stories of artists and creatives from Colorado’s seven certified Creative Districts: Telluride, Ridgway, Salida, North Fork Valley, Pueblo Creative Corridor, Corazon de Trinidad, and Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe.
Here is the second episode about Telluride Arts District.
Here is the first episode about Telluride Arts District.
Boettcher Creative District Leadership Awards
The Boettcher Foundation is a partner of the Colorado Creative Industries in establishing the Colorado Creative Districts Program. Current Certified and Prospective Colorado Creative Districts are eligible to receive a Boettcher Creative District Leadership Award, which are administered by Creative Industries.
The purpose of the Boettcher Creative District Leadership Awards is to provide matching funds up to $25,000 per creative district to support Certified and Prospective Districts over the next five years in creating sustainable operations and successful ongoing programs. The goal of this program is to help Colorado Creative Districts achieve the administrative structure, funding streams, community engagement process, strategic plan and staff structure that provide both immediate sustainability and opportunities to evolve.
Seven Colorado Creative Districts are recipients of 2013-2014 Boettcher Creative District Awards, totaling $95,000:
Downtown Salida has an historic downtown nestled on the Arkansas River. In the 1980s, many artists relocated to Salida and tranformed a downtown in disrepair into a vibrant hub of creative activity, commerce and community.
This small city is recognized as a state leader in the arts due to a municipality committed to emphasizing an existing historic downtown as a center of commerce, and to a strong contingent of creative enterprises reusing this existing built environment to live, work and conduct business. Salida's unique growth during the recent economic downturn is due to a community comprised of numerous arts, cultural and non-profit organizations, and a city government that have transformed the neighborhood into a focal point for attracting visitors and celebrating and strengthening the town's unique identity.
Approximately 100 creative enterprises are located within the district and serve as its key organizing principle. There are 21 artists-owned studios and galleries. Many designers own firms in historic downtown buildings (e.g. architects, interior designers, carpenters, graphic designers, and filmmakers). Thirteen locally-owned restaurants host revolving exhibitions of local art. There are 13 performance venues. The District serves as an economic hub of activity, with a complementary mix of non-arts businesses within its boundaries, including a significant concentration of civic organizations and locally-owned restaurants, offices and retail shops. Innovative municipal building codes that encourage the adaptive reuse of historic downtown structures allowed for a recent influx of second floor residential space and boutique lodging opportunities.
The Art District on Santa Fe (ADSF), Denver's nationally known art and cultural district, features over 70 member art galleries, studios, restaurants, theatre and other creative organizations.
Something inspiring happens every day in the Art District, including the popular First Friday Art Walks and the more intimate Third Friday Collector's Preview evenings. The Art District is Denver's place for artistry and community. Officially founded in 2003 as "Denver's Art District on Santa Fe" by a group of 12 pioneering galleries, a museum and a theatre who organized the Art District on Santa Fe (ADSF) as a non-profit corporation, they now boast a membership of over 70 galleries and other creative organizations on and near Santa Fe Drive.
ADSF runs a guided shuttle coach between the Osage RTD Light Rail Station, West High School parking lot, and the Art District on Santa Fe from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. every rirst Friday of the month.
Corazon de Trinidad Creative District The Corazon de Trinidad Creative District (TCD) is home to a high concentration of art galleries, studios, theaters and other creative industries. To build upon this existing creative industry infrastructure, the city has been pursuing an arts-based redevelopment strategy and adopted the city’s first historic district development ordinance and implementation of several key infrastructure development grants. The city is also working with local nonprofits and private investors to redevelop vacant space into artist live-work space, studio space, galleries and retail space. The TCD is the regional economic center for communities throughout Las Animas and Huerfano Counties, as well as Colfax County in New Mexico. In addition to studios, galleries, theatres and other creative infrastructure, the Corazon de Trinidad is home to restaurants, taverns, supermarkets and a wide range of retail establishments. The TCD is also a National Historic District proximate to the Culebra Range of the Sangre de Cristo with a mild climate, brick streets and unique historic architecture that make it highly identifiable and easily branded. Trinidad takes great pride in its diverse cultural heritage, evident even in the name of its downtown historic district – the Corazon de Trinidad. In addition to the city’s Hispanic heritage, the architecture in the downtown, including the brick streets, is mostly Italianesque, prominently featuring the unparalleled stone and brick work of the many Italian immigrants that settled here. The city views its diverse cultural heritage as a great strength and plans to utilize it in the promotion of the District as well as in the programming of District events.
North Fork Valley Creative District Once an ocean, now a land between high mountains and a deep narrow canyon, a land of mesas and a valley where extraordinary fruit grows . . . A place of mysterious beauty and inspiration. The North Fork Valley Creative District in the heart of the Western Slope in Delta County encompasses the three towns of Paonia, Hotchkiss, and Crawford. The District hosts an incredibly vibrant cultural scene, with many festivals and events that draw visitors from around the state. It is home to every kind of artistic talent. The Valley is peppered with the studios and home workshops of traditional artists (weavers, blacksmiths, carvers, quilters), fine artists (potters, painters, photographers, sculptors), writers, performing artists (dramatists, dancers, musicians) and technological artists (filmmakers, graphic artists, architects, web designers), as well as culinary artists and creators of value-added agricultural products on numerous organic farms, vineyards, and orchards. Frequent live musical performances at numerous venues range from bluegrass and country to classical, pop and blues. There are two nonprofit art centers, the Blue Sage Center for the Arts in Paonia and the Creamery Arts Center in Hotchkiss, offering displays of fine art, instructional classes, lectures, performance art and public events. The District boasts many galleries, a glass blowing studio, blacksmith forges, recording studios, artist residencies, and a nationally-known foundry. KVNF Community Radio is a great cultural resource with much local programming. Nationally known environmental magazine High Country News is published from Paonia, and local paper The Merchant Herald is published from Hotchkiss. Paonia's Paradise Theatre is a venue which shows not only Hollywood and independent films, but also features a great slate of local and touring live music, drama, readings and off-beat events.
Pueblo Creative Corridor The boundaries for the Creative Corridor are based on the footprint of Pueblo's First Friday Art Walk which began 22 years ago as a grassroots endeavor among artists in Pueblo. This area includes key arts & culture anchors, the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, El Pueblo History Museum, Historic Federal Building, Rawlings Library, Union Avenue Historic District, Historic Union Depot, Riverwalk, and Buell Children's Museum. These anchors are woven together by private and co-op art galleries, Art & Soul Street Gallery, creative industries, bookstores, cafes, restaurants, and artist work/live space. Additionally, this area provides numerous public gathering spaces accented by sculpture and fountains by local artists.
Ridgway Creative District Ridgway, at the intersection of U.S. Hwy 550 and State Hwy 62, is home to a thriving arts community, encompassing visual, design, performing, textile, culinary, brewing and publishing arts. More than 10% of its 900 residents are artists. The RCD boundary defines an existing, pedestrian-friendly, eclectic and vibrant hub of art galleries, studios, co-op, public art displays, town park, Uncompahgre River trails, community garden, library, historic theater and arts educational center. RCD retail stores sell local and regional art, furniture and clothing. RCD creative industries include a candle factory, brewery, forgery, woodworking, the Grammy maker, jewelers and a luthier. Ridgway has a rich history connected to railroads, farming and ranching embraced in its buildings, businesses and events. The town’s Old Firehouse was The Old Stone Town Hall for most of its 120 years. In 1967, it received a cupola for filming of the John Wayne movie “True Grit.” The Railroad Museum is a growing asset to the community. Streets in town bear the first names of its founders and their wives, and Old West architecture remains.
Telluride Creative District The Town of Telluride is a charming, walkable mile infused by potent arts and cultural activity that has been growing since the 1880s. With breathtaking mountains, plentiful sunshine and powder, and a boom and bust economy, Telluride has inspired creative thinking for more than a century. Telluride is extraordinary both because of the ideas it inspires and the intrepid local support for their incubation, execution, and export to the world. Their story of modern innovation began in 1891 when the world’s first commercial a/c power system happened in the town. Then and now, Telluride is defined by an indomitable creative spirit. Today, many renowned individual artists call Telluride home, including award-winning filmmakers, architects, designers, published writers and poets, actors, dancers, musicians, painters, photographers, bookbinders, chefs, brew masters and more. The arts happen just about everywhere in Telluride, including on main street, in parks, in private businesses, and in the many arts venues central to their built landscape.
Aurora Cultural Arts District The Aurora Arts District is an independent nonprofit organization leading local creative businesses, individuals, the local business community and area residents, partnering with the City of Aurora and other entities in efforts to enhance the district, as a destination through cultural and educational experiences.
Downtown Colorado Springs The Creative District of Downtown Colorado Springs encompasses two square miles in the historic heart of the city. Cultural anchors include the 75-year-old Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, combining a nationally accredited museum with an acclaimed collection of Native American, Mexican and 20th century modernism, a performing arts department producing at least five fully-staged shows annually, and the Bemis School of Art, with classes serving 27,000 children and adults annually; the 2,000-seat Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts, home to the 33 annual performances of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, a Broadway touring season, a free concert series in its black-box space, and seasonal performances by the Youth Symphony, Children’s Chorale and other local groups, as well as national concerts, comedians, etc.; and the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, a nationally accredited municipal history museum with just under 50,000 visitors in 2011. The district also is home to three major parks and two artist-designed fountains; more than 35 buildings on the National Historic Registry; the Colorado Springs Conservatory, a performing arts preparatory school; and Cottonwood Center for the Arts, with galleries, classrooms and 80 artist studios. Festivals run the gamut from Pikes Peak Arts Fest over July 4 weekend to Blues Under the Bridge concert festival to the What IF Festival. Summer brims with two weekly farmers markets and a free outdoor concert series and much more. The district is home to 15 architecture firms, the city's four largest ad agencies, and numerous creative businesses.
Greeley Creative District Renaissance best describes the climate encompassed by the Greeley Creative District, which blends the historic Downtown Development and University Districts in a continuum of dynamic and complementary uses. This area represents the city’s highest concentration of micro-businesses, performance venues, cultural outlets, galleries, museums, entertainment, and mixed residential development. Historic architecture blends with contemporary additions, while wall murals surprise visitors throughout the area which is rich with public art. Three primary partners form the leadership and foundation of this initiative: City of Greeley, University of Northern Colorado and the Downtown Development Authority. Involvement in the area's vitality, however, is represented by an extensive and varied complement of volunteers and representatives from creative industries and businesses, artists, entertainers, and civic organizations. Signature community events exist in the heart of the Creative District such as the annual Arts Picnic, Das Greeley Oktoberfest, the Blues Jam, Farmers’ Market, UNC Gala, Independence Stampede Parade, UNC Jazz Festival, Greeley Lights the Nights, and Greeley Philharmonic Series. Cultural outlets in the Creative District are extensive and include several theatres and performance stages, three museums, and numerous art galleries. Civic facilities include a 1,700+ seat auditorium, ice skating arena, public library, recreation and senior centers, and three parks.
Longmont Arts & Entertainment District
Downtown Longmont is infused with arts, entertainment and culture – allowing visitors to turn everyday life into a memorable experience. It is filled with inspiring architecture, interactive retail stores, eclectic dining and great art venues, mixing historic charm and character with modern style and convenience. Within the district boundaries are two independent community theaters, two nonprofit art organizations and classrooms, a restored opera house, more than 15 independent art galleries or studios, over 10 interactive experience-based retailers, a dance school, five music schools, more than 80 independent merchants, a diverse mix of 25 restaurants, two historic bed and breakfasts, 30 local historical landmarks, the historic Callahan House, Old St. Stephens Church and Plaza, and 6th Avenue plaza. Home to nearly 400 businesses, creative industries such as architects, designers and media companies abound. If your idea of creativity is ordering a great dinner/drink combination before you hear live music or theater, than Downtown Longmont is the place for you!
RiNo Art District
The district, just north of downtown Denver, distinguishes itself as a place "Where Art is Made", not just where art is shown, as it has long been home to working artisans, artists, art educators and fabricators. While retaining some of its historically industrial character, the RiNo neighborhood has come to include architectural firms, art galleries, design companies, furniture makers, decorative iron workers, filmmakers and film post-production facilities, recording studios, glass artists, illustrators, painters, media artists, photographers, sculptors, musicians, theaters and ballet venues, and an array of studio and rehearsal spaces. Many of RiNo's locations have regular exhibits throughout the year and participate in RiNo's First Fridays and Second Saturdays. Spearheaded by collectives such as Ironton Studios, Wazee Union, The Dry Ice Factory, and smaller individual locations they have been drawing large crowds with art, music and food trucks.
Emerging Creative Districts
40 West Arts, Inc
Anchored by historic West Colfax, Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, and the Lamar Street Light Rail Station, 40 West Arts is a community-oriented arts district in northeast Lakewood that embraces the arts. Supported by individuals, businesses and civic organizations, 40 West’s singular goal is to support the arts and artists by creating community arts spaces and community arts events in order to bring the joy and energy of creativity to our community. With a balanced approach of supporting both established and emerging artists, as well as encouraging hands-on experimentation with the arts for the self-proclaimed non-artists, 40 West exists to enrich the community and support the creative, cultural and economic vitality of the region.
Old Town Parker
Parker has been investing in the arts for more than 20 years. In 1991, a visionary Mayor and Town Council hired Parker’s first full-time cultural director and created the Parker Cultural Commission which envisioned a thriving downtown creative district anchored by a professional art center. Now, the vision of those early leaders has come to fruition as Parker builds on its successful community arts programs with the construction of the $21.8 million regional Parker Arts, Culture and Events (PACE) Center. The Town of Parker’s vision is to be a full service community with a hometown feel, and the arts are a key component of this vision. Parker has worked hard to preserve its heritage and culture even as it grew quickly. As one of the country’s fastest growing communities throughout most of the 1990s, Parker never wavered in this vision, creating excellent community arts programs like Concerts in the Park and purchasing the Mainstreet Center, a historic schoolhouse in the downtown area, to house arts education and events. In addition to several public facilities, the creative district is home to a number of public art pieces and historic sites, ranging from the original 20 mile house and post office historic buildings to a musical playground. It also includes the historic Ruth Chapel and the rotating Art Encounters program and several pieces of public art funded privately. The downtown area also houses several independent restaurants, bars, and coffee shops which serve as local music venues. The Creative district is home to a growing number of creative businesses and nonprofit organizations, from several photographers and graphic designers, to an animation studio, as well as dance studios and a pottery shop.