On Wednesday, hundreds of local Denver artists met with Denver Fire, Arts & Venues and Community Planning and Development in a forum to discuss the future of the local arts scene. The fire department recently closed two DIY live-work art spaces in Denver because they did not meet building codes. There has been a nationwide crackdown on live-work art spaces after 36 people died in an Oakland warehouse fire.
Denver Arts & Venues is now allocating $20K to create safe arts spaces. Ginger White, director of Arts & Venues, told the Denverite they haven’t yet decided where the money will go. She says they want to get input from the local artists and insure that the money is used responsibly.
Arts & Venues is also working with Artspace, and Minneapolis based nonprofit, to develop 100 units of artist housing in Denver. Artspace also manages local live-work spaces in Loveland. While the $20K is not tied specifically to the housing units, White says it is an important part of the conversation. The housing units likely won’t begin construction until 2018.
In a Q&A after the forum, many artists expressed they cannot afford to make the building changes the city is asking for. Madeline Johnston, a local artist, says that the changes to these art spaces directly affect the art community, and they are not being invited into the conversation about what happens next.
This Saturday, thousands of people are gathering across the country to partake in the Women’s March. The mission of the grassroots event is to send a message to the incoming administration that women’s rights are human rights, and to support marginalized communities in the United States.
While Washington, D.C. is the site of the main event, many other cities are hosting their own. The Denver Women’s March is expected to have over 30K people. There will also be a rally in Civic Center Park following the march. State Sen. Irene Aguilar and state Rep. Leslie Herod will speak in addition to musical and spoken word performances.
Meanwhile in Boulder, members of the Frasier Meadows Retirement Community will be hosting their own “Advocates for Diversity” walk around Thunderbird Lake.
On Friday, Denver will begin accepting applications for marijuana clubs. The city will be the first in the nation to allow clubs, and the use of pot in public places such coffee shops and art galleries.
While applications are available starting Friday, the city has no deadline to approve the licenses which will be $2000 a year.
Last year, voters approved a measure saying that marijuana clubs will be 21 and older, establishments will not be allowed sell pot, and people won’t be allowed to smoke inside. This means the clubs would be bring-your-own venues. Critics argue that this will limit businesses ability to control what people are consuming and how much.
While Colorado passed a law in 2012 legalizing recreational use of marijuana, Denver is the first city to specifically permit and regulate public marijuana use.