It’s early in the year, but the 40 West Arts District wants to make 2017 its best year yet by bringing in more people with unique artistic offerings.
And to get the best idea of what will draw in residents and visitors, the district hosted its second 40W Summit at the Pure Colorado Event Center on Feb. 9. About two dozen community arts leaders and supporters provided feedback to the district.
“We’re all looking forward to the process and progress we will all make as a community,” said Bill Marino, chairman of 40 West Arts.
Liz Black, executive director for 40 West, said looking to 2017 and 2018, the district is focusing on two things — experience and engagement, which include cultivating active participation. To that end, attendees gave their thoughts on three topics — place-making, art walk creative experiences and 40 West outreach.
We went along to the three stations, and here’s what attendees were saying:
Place-making — Attendees were asked to share their opinions on logos and branding to let visitors know they’re visiting one of 40 West’s creative venues. Options included automotive themes, arts-based designs and vintage designs. They were also asked what large iconic art installation, like Denver’s Blue Bear, they would like to see in the district.
“I really like the retro-style signage,” said Lauri Innes, owner of the Gallery of Everything in Lakewood. “For the large installation, I thought something like the Davie’s Chuck Wagon Diner cowboy. I work right across the street from their second location, and whenever I see it, I think of home, which for me is Lakewood.”
Art walk creative experiences — The district hosts arts events year-round, but they throw three big art walks during the summer and early fall — in March, June and October. So at this station, visitors provided feedback on what they would like to see at coming events.
“I suggested something like SUMI-E, a Japanese brush art, which is something you don’t really see in the area,” said Bob Autobee, of the cultural resources firm Autobee & Autobee. “Every year we’ve involved with the art walk, they find new ways to try something different and outside the box.”
40 West outreach — One of the biggest goals for the district is bringing more people in, not just Lakewood residents, but regional visitors as well. So attendees were asked to consider how they hear about what’s going on in 40 West, and how to spread the word to more people.
“A lot of the time, neighborhoods don’t know what’s happening, even though it’s so close,” said Cindy Haase, a local artist. “Finding ways for neighborhoods to be plugged in would be great, and I really like what I heard about more Spanish outreach, and getting the word to schools.”