River North Art emphasizes local talent
RiNo District supports a diversity of art forms
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 03:02
The go-to for First Fridays in Denver is typically the Santa Fe art district, a strip of galleries overflowing with artists, fans, and partiers. But Santa Fe is not the only art district in Denver; the galleries of River North feature unique work in all sorts of mediums, with a scene that is quieter and more focused than Santa Fe’s. Santa Fe might party hard, but River North has an air of sophisticated class that can’t be beat.
Located just north of downtown, River North art district—often referred to as RiNo—houses an array of up-and-coming art galleries based out of old warehouses. Since the district isn’t as popular as Santa Fe, lower rents allow emerging artists to rent space and form an eclectic community, where passion rises above the dollar.
The converted galleries of RiNo feature work in varying mediums, from abstract film and media exhibition to painting, collage, and fiber-based creations.
First Fridays and Second Saturdays in RiNo provide an aesthetic that is different and equally as appealing as its rival in Santa Fe. River North exhibitions are small, allowing art browsers the space to truly contemplate and appreciate the artists’ work, and to chat with the artists themselves in their studios. It is more about the art itself, rather than the gallery’s DJ or people meeting each other.
Dry Ice Factory, a studio and gallery located on 33rd and Walnut, is currently displaying a variety of mixed media work, ranging from the surrealist sculptures of Erin Asmussen to the ethereal, cosmic-feeling abstract paintings of Elizabeth Potts. Dry Ice Factory holds open-house events on the first Friday of every month.
Hinterland, also open on First Fridays, gets its name from the German term referring to things unknown. The building is made entirely of recycled salvaged materials and features the work of artists with visions that fall in line with the gallery’s name. Hinterland is currently featuring a photography contest, and it displayed the work of some students from East High School during its most recent First Friday.
Wazee Union on 35th and Wazee hosts the studios of over 60 artists, and the building itself is just as intriguing as the things that are created in it. The lofty industrial space features quirky painted walls, exposed bricks, and an expansive, factory-like floor-plan that lends itself to exploration. Wazee Union hosts an open-house event on the second Saturday of every month, with live music and performance art topping off the already impressive visual art on display.
The numerous galleries of RiNo, although not as hip as the more established districts, demand public attention with their commitment to supporting local artists and utilizing old spaces in innovative ways. Through its industrial architecture, cheap artist-focused studio space, and relaxed weekend events, RiNo’s art district is quickly establishing itself as a Denver hub for creativity.