Good move: Denver promises $300,000 to support D.I.Y. spaces

The City of Denver put some actual cash where its mouth is today, promising $300,000 to help so-called D.I.Y. art spaces get up to code. It’s the latest, and possibly final, chapter in a saga of concern over the health and saftey of low-scale artist-friendly havens that started when the city abruptly closed down the Rhinoceropolis art and music space in December 2016.

Some might argue that the amount won’t go far in a region where construction costs are soaring and even the simple renovations some buildings might need can easily reach into the tens of thousands. But it’s real money and I’m guessing we’d be hard-pressed to come up with a long list of mid-sized municipalities that are doing half as much as much to help the creative underclass — at least in the area of building safety.

The good news is that the city is working with the folks at RedLine arts center to distribute the funds. That means it won’t be bureaucrats making all the decisions and it adds a layer of crediblity and trust.

Here is the press release with all the details:


Arts & Venues announces Safe Creative Spaces Fund

DENVER – As an extension of Denver’s Safe Occupancy Program, Denver Arts & Venues is pleased to announce the Safe Creative Spaces Fund, providing $300,000 in need-based funding for creative space tenant safety and building improvements.

“We are committed to cultivating, sustaining and promoting our diverse artistic and creative industry, including ensuring that our artists have a safe, affordable space where they can live and work,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “The Safe Occupancy Program and the Safe Creative Spaces Fund are designed to support our creative professionals with resources to get these live/work spaces up to code, keep them affordable and avoid further displacements.”

Arts & Venues is committed to exploring short- and long-term opportunities for safe creative spaces, and along with Denver Community Planning and Development and the Denver Fire Department, is working to provide resources and assistance through innovative solutions for those working to make these spaces safe and up to code.

“For Denver’s creative community to thrive, it is vital that creative spaces are safe and affordable to live and work in,” said Arts & Venues Deputy Director, Ginger White. “In addition to Denver’s effort to grant conditional occupancy in these spaces while they are being brought up to code, Arts & Venues’ Safe Creative Spaces fund offers financial support for tenants and owners to offset the cost of becoming code-compliant. The fund is another example of our commitment to supporting creative production and artistic growth in Denver.”

Funding will be administered from December 12, 2017 through January 17, 2020 and is available to tenant or owner applicants who own or run a creative space such as a live/work collective, a creative business or a creative assembly space in the City and County of Denver that is enrolled in the Safe Occupancy Program.

The funds will be administered through a partnership with RedLine, a nonprofit contemporary art center. RedLine will also facilitate support between artists and art businesses, and applicants are encouraged to contact RedLine for free, confidential guidance before enrolling in the Safe Occupancy Program or applying for Safe Creative Spaces funding.

“RedLine is very excited to collaborate with Denver Arts & Venues, the City of Denver and the greater arts and culture communities to help address the growing need for safe creative spaces in Denver,” said RedLine Executive Director, Louise Martorano. “Both the Safe Occupancy Program and Safe Creative Space Fund represent two key initiatives that not only provide a path for security and stability for artists in creative spaces, but also the financial resources to make that path accessible.”

Applications will be accepted online at beginning December 12. Potential applicants are encouraged to attend a free informational session at RedLine Contemporary Art Center, 2350 Arapahoe St., Tuesday, Dec. 12, 5:30-7 p.m.

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