40 West Arts District returns

Residents are welcomed in galleries. But there are restrictions

Joseph Rios
jrios@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 5/26/20

Craig Robb, an artist of Pirate: Contemporary Art in the 40 West Arts District, said he has started to notice anxiety in his work showing up —related to being isolated throughout the pandemic. Robb …

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40 West Arts District returns

Residents are welcomed in galleries. But there are restrictions

Posted

Craig Robb, an artist of Pirate: Contemporary Art in the 40 West Arts District, said he has started to notice anxiety in his work showing up —related to being isolated throughout the pandemic.

Robb specializes in sculptures and was recently sketching out a piece that is related to dementia and loss. He noticed himself drawing a straight line over and over again until he got tired of drawing that line. And it hit him.

“Looking at it through dementia and looking through someone who is socially isolated, and it’s like wow. You can fit into this too,” said Robb. “Not only am I making art differently, but I’m seeing things differently too.”

He said the feeling of isolation that some may be experiencing is not good, and that slowly, but surely, we need to get back to being involved with other people.

Robb and the 40 West Arts District took a step toward getting back to being involved with others by opening its doors to the public on May 20 for the first time in months.

Art galleries in the 40 West Arts District will allow residents to come in and observe and purchase art. But as with every business that is reopening, there will be restrictions.

Masks will be required in galleries and residents must practice social distancing. Art galleries will also limit how many residents they are letting come in at a time to follow guidelines from the state.

First Fridays, where galleries open their doors to the public on the first Friday of every month, will continue to be held virtually.

“These are unprecedented times, and we are thinking a lot about the safety and health of our staff, our visitors, our artists and also the economy. We’re making sure that artists can get back to selling work,” said 40 West Arts Executive Director Liz Black.

“The arts are important to a vibrant, sustainable, robust community, and we feel like one of the biggest things we provide is that sense of engagement and that sense of enjoyment. We hope that is something we can give to the Denver metro area,” she added.

Christy Seving, an artist at NEXT Gallery at the 40 West Arts District, said the gallery is her social network, support system and family.

“We’re trying to respond to our anxieties by putting measures in place — but we’re happy. Our community has suffered, and we’re excited to navigate this in a safe way,” said Seving.

NEXT Gallery will following guidelines from the state and Jefferson County Public Health like limiting the number of visitors inside its building, practicing social distancing, having sanitation on deck and requiring masks.

Seving encouraged residents to keep in touch with NEXT Gallery’s Facebook page to keep up with any updates from the gallery.

“We’re excited to get back to putting art on the walls, and even if it’s different, we’re happy to be doing it. We can try to start putting our community back together,” she said.

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