It's tough to miss the pair of looming, white "Dry Ice Factory" towers on the corner of 33rd and Walnut in Denver's River North (RiNo) Arts District. In 1929, carbon dioxide billowed out of these cylinders as Liquid Carbonic Corporation manufactured dry ice for the first soda machines. Today, the brick factory has been repurposed to house a co-op gallery and two dozen Denver artists, including painters, sculptors, and ceramicists, all of whom lease the studios for between $375 and $1,100 a month. "In the next 10 years, we want to start developing programming so we can become an art center and not just a building of studios and galleries," says Matthew Palmer, managing owner of Dry Ice Factory.
Palmer and his father purchased the space in April 2007 after city developers withdrew when they found out how much work the aged factory needed. Palmer, though, was up for the task: After nearly two years of renovations and almost 45 tons of steel recycled, the building reopened in March, its history preserved in the artfully framed Liquid Carbonic Corporation ads that hang on the walls.
Dry Ice Factory is open to the public for art viewing and studio tours on First Fridays 6-10 p.m. www.dryicefactory.org