When you’re making First Friday plans this month, be sure to stop by two of Denver’s newest galleries. They’re located on opposite sides of town and showcase very different styles, but they’re both fostering community in their own ways.
Two years ago, local artist Laura Krudener founded Among the Colors, a digital lifestyle platform focused on art, style, and wellness. One of her goals was to give local makers a national platform. As of July, she’s giving them an analog one, too: a brick-and-mortar contemporary art gallery and event space called ATC DEN. “I’m trying to create a dialogue for Denver with the larger art and creative community,” she says. ATC will host six curated shows a year, starting with It’s All a Dream, an exhibition of Krudener’s bright color field abstract paintings, which combine poured paint with brushstroke work; the show will be up through Labor Day.
Krudener hopes the venue will also become a community gathering space, for both artists and the general public. Having moved in and out of arts circles in at least six states, she knows how difficult fostering valuable connections can be. “I’m letting it be like a creative hub for people to come together, where other ideas and art projects can start and happen around the town,” she says. To that end, she’s organizing a series of events to coincide with each exhibition. For It’s All a Dream, that means Vedic Meditation workshops because wellness and spirituality are big inspirations in Krudener’s work. Look for a mala bead bracelet-making workshop later this month.
Art can come from anywhere—and anyone. Nine-month-old Miracle Street Gallery in Lakewood’s 40 West Arts District was created as a welcoming space for marginalized and low-income artists, including the homeless, those aging out of foster care, and ex-offenders. Artists price their work themselves and take home 85 percent of their sales.
“A lot of people who have talent or ability don’t have a way to put something together—have a gallery or a marketing plan,” says co-founder Rick Roberts. “We provide opportunities, not handouts.” The gallery has teamed up with local organizations such as the Gathering Place and Denver Street School to host art shows. It was founded by the folks behind Legacy Grace Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving economic opportunities for populations in need in Jefferson County through affordable housing, job training, and employment assistance.
In June, Miracle Street announced Denver-based abstract painter Dennis Wright as its artist-in-residence. He’ll eventually host art classes in the space. Those events, plus special evenings like a recent open mic night are meant to engage the local community. Miracle Street is intended to be more than a gallery: It’s a hub of positivity amid West Colfax’s length of pawn shops and motels. People stop in for respite from the heat or rain or just to sit down and chat for a few minutes. “It’s a fun community place where people can come and hang out and feel like they belong,” Roberts says. Stop by or lend a hand by donating art supplies; Miracle Street is in particular need of canvases and paintbrushes.