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40 West Arts

Creative businesses welcomed at 40 West

Reed Art and Imaging lastest business to move to Lakewood from Denver

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When Bob and Betty Reed founded Reed Art and Imaging in 1976, they did so in Lakewood.

Now, after more than 30 years in Denver on Federal Boulevard, the printmaking company is returning home to the former location of the Avalanche Harley-Davidson at 8000 W. Colfax Ave.

“It really feels like coming full circle,” said John Harris, marketing and technology lead with the company. “It took quite a while to find a location that was right for us, and we’re as excited to be in the 40 West Arts District as they are to have us. I’ve lived in 40 West for several years, and the whole district is excited to see more creative business opportunities.”

The move is a result of the City of Denver’s Federal Boulevard Improvement Project, Harris explained, which eliminates the front parking lot of Reed Art’s former location to make room for another lane on Federal.

“Denver seems to be turning away from supporting creative artists and their businesses,” he added. “The City of Lakewood, on the other hand, is making Lakewood a very attractive place for our kinds of businesses to come.”

And Reed Art, which has national clients like photographer John Fielder, isn’t the only creative business that appears to have noticed.

The NEXT Gallery, which also serves as an artist cooperative, moved to West Colfax in late April, and Pirate: Contemporary Art moved in June. Both NEXT and Pirate had been located on Navajo Street in Denver before coming to Lakewood.

“We’ve worked so hard to create and sustain a place where creative businesses can come and be successful,” said Bill Marino, executive director of the Lakewood West Colfax Business Improvement District, and board chair of 40 West Arts. “We’re a very inclusive place, and through our West Colfax Community Association, the business improvement district, and 40 West’s certification as a creative district, we provide a lot of opportunities and support to creative businesses.”

The 40 West district is a nonprofit organization focused highlighting arts and creative industries around Lakewood’s West Colfax corridor surrounding the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. The organization is made up of artists, residents, business owners and students who are invested in the arts and bettering the community.

One of the district’s closest and most long-standing partners is the City of Lakewood, which has also been looking for opportunities to bring in more creative businesses.

“There’s been a deliberate effort on everyone’s part to get to this point where we can bring these businesses in,” said Vanessa Zarate, economic development specialist with the city. “There’s a great deal of economic activity that come with creative businesses moving to an area, and with our partners, we’ve worked hard to make this a great environment for businesses.”

The 20,000 square-foot facility Reed Art is moving has more space for the company’s high-tech printmaking, mounting and lamination services, as well as potential for gallery space and potentially a studio space that would be for rent, Harris said. Reed Art will bring about 30 employees to its new location.

The company also has every intention of seizing the opportunities presented by being in 40 West, and working with the city to use its space for art pop-up shops, classes, markets, and other events.

“The possibility of expanded outreach into the artistic community is really exciting,” Harris said. “It’s always been important for our business to be a resource for artists, and there’s so many positive in this new space.”

Reed Street is in the process of getting the necessary permits from the city to begin reconstruction in earnest, and Harris hopes to open sometime in August.

And the city and its partners are eager to keep up the momentum that is changing West Colfax into a more sustainable and better form.

“We’re doing something right on the corridor, and are so excited by what we’re seeing,” Marino said. “There’s a remarkable convergence of energy here. We’re the little creative district that could.”

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