Creative Space Resources

Denver Arts & Venues (A&V), along with Denver Fire Department (DFD) and Community Planning and Development (CPD), are committed to exploring short- and long-term opportunities for safe, creative spaces that support creative production, artistic growth, and better protect these critical contributors to our city. We value the creative community and will continue to provide a space for collaborative problem solving.

Denver proposes safe occupancy program for buildings
On June 17, the city of Denver proposed a conditional building occupancy program for unpermitted spaces that will ensure life safety, limit displacement, and allow extended deadlines and collaborative solutions to achieve code compliance. The program is designed to incentivize the owners and tenants of unpermitted spaces to come forward and work with the city to make their buildings safe — thereby increasing safety for occupants, visitors, neighbors and the general public.

The program would make Denver the first city in the country with a law explicitly granting legal occupancy of unpermitted spaces while a building is being brought up to code voluntarily. While first and foremost ensuring public safety, the program offers three key benefits to users:
•    Allows people to remain in place
•    Offers an extended deadline for compliance
•    Encourages collaboration for creative and potentially cheaper solutions

The safe occupancy program was designed with creative spaces in mind but is applicable to many other uses of existing buildings. The proposal will be reviewed by Denver City Council at a committee meeting on June 28. Visit denvergov.org/safeoccupancy for more details.

Safe Creative Spaces Forum
On January 18, A&V, Community Planning and Development (CPD) and Denver Fire Department (DFD) hosted the Safe Creative Spaces Forum to share information about the City’s fire codes, building codes and zoning requirements for creative and alternative DIY spaces to be able to continue to function. The goal was to provide that information in an easy to understand format. During this event, various city agency and community resource tables were set up to provide further assistance related to concerns around safety as well as housing.

View the Denver 8 Video here

From that meeting and conversations that followed we are looking at three areas of concern:

  • Lack of affordable housing and workspaces
  • Lack of resources to affordably bring space to code
  • Understanding and updating Denver zoning and building codes

Below is a number of resources better support these areas:

Digital Handouts:

Free Safety Kits
Community members running creative and alternative spaces for creative uses within the City of Denver can anonymously pick-up a start-up safety kit, which includes one home fire alarm, one home carbon monoxide alarm, one safety flashlight, four neon 8-hour glow sticks, one fire extinguisher, one first aid kit, and additional fire and safety educational materials. Pick-up is available at the McNichols Civic Center Building, 144 W. Colfax Ave. (Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.). Please note, these kits are not comprehensive for use in commercial or public spaces. For inquiries related to the Fire Code and your unique, creative space needs, please contact Denver Fire Department.

Denver Arts & Venues contributes $20,000 to Meow Wolf DIY & Alternative Creative Spaces Grant
A&V is providing Meow Wolf $20,000 towards their funding program to specifically assist the more immediate compliance and safety needs of the City of Denver’s DIY and alternative spaces. In January, Meow Wolf announced a $100,000 annual fund to support safer DIY music and arts venues across the nation. The application process is strictly through the Meow Wolf organization, and personal information will not be shared unless otherwise agreed upon by the applicant.

The A&V $20,000 contribution will be dedicated to applicants who meet Meow Wolf’s DIY grant criteria and:

  • Demonstrate they have a physical address and creative/community gathering space in the City and County of Denver.
  • Have permission and demonstrate partnership with land owner

Preference will be given to spaces that:

  • Identify as “DIY” or “alternative” and maintain a limited budget stream
  • Demonstrate additional funding from land owner or additional partnerships

Funds may be allocated for uses such as:

  • Safety and infrastructure improvements
  • Code compliance needs
  • Construction plans/permit review
  • Rezoning
  • Materials and equipment
  • Consulting and trade resources to support the above efforts
  • Funding may not be allocated towards:
  • Housing support, residential improvements or personal items

Meow Wolf DIY Grant Deadline is March 31, 2017.
For more information, visit meowwolf.com/DIY.

No-cost fire inspection offered by Denver Fire Department (DFD)
Sign-up today to receive a free inspection of your creative space in the City of Denver offered by DFD for a limited time. Building owners can apply through Friday, March 31, 2017 to be added to their inspection list. DFD will reach you with additional information and timeline for actual inspection dates. Click here to sign up.

No-cost fire inspection offered by non-City fire service professional
The Tri-County Fire Protections Service has offered no-cost fire inspections/consultations through Sunday, April 30, 2017 for the purpose of educating people on how to mitigate hazards. These services are not connected with the City of Denver and can remain anonymous. Normal rates would apply for any work done after April 30. Please reach Michael Reese at 303.548.2993.

Creative Spaces input form and volunteer/professional service support
If you have questions about your space, need resources or have ideas on how to support creative spaces though offering professional services, fill out our form.

Artspace, Denver Project
In partnership with A&V, Artspace conducting a feasibility study on the need for affordable space for the creative sector in Denver. The study surveyed more than 1,000 individuals who identified a growing need for affordable work and/or living space. Those individuals specifically pinpointed the RiNo neighborhoods as an area that needs improvement. Artspace is advancing a mixed-use project on a site at approximately 41st Street and Brighton Boulevard.
Read more about the Artspace, Denver project.
Sign up to learn more about this project.

Connect to your DIY & creative community
Amplify Arts Denver is a coalition dedicated to sustaining the spirit of DIY art and music communities. Our mission is to provide resources, support and advocacy as needed by the local community, ensuring the preservation of safe, inclusive, autonomous, artist-run spaces which promote and value freedom of expression and creativity over traditional commercial modes of dissemination.
Learn more at: amplifyartsdenver.org.

Additional Resources: 

Please feel free to leave any questions/comments below or you can contact Lisa Gedgaudas directly at 720-865-5560 or lisa.gedgaudas@denvergov.org