In September 2017, Paonia was the community selected for Space to Create in Northwest Colorado…

Space to Create Paonia will advance a feasibility analysis of creative sector workforce space in the town of Paonia. The initiative will begin with a preliminary feasibility study and community engagement work, followed by an arts market survey.

Space to Create Paonia, is one of a number of projects that will be launched in eight regions in Colorado’s rural, small town and mountain communities over the next three years. Each project will be driven by community needs for workforce housing and commercial space for artists and creative entrepreneurs.

Susie Lowe and Elaine Brett Celebrate the Paonia Award

The first demonstration project was launched July 2015 in Trinidad, followed by the town of Ridgway in the Southwest region. Through the study process, both communities learned that projects are feasible and they are currently in the predevelopment phase. Regional selections are prioritized based on local needs including economic diversification, community readiness, public will, commitment of local resources and housing and space demands.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ARTSPACE PROJECT IN TRINIDAD

WHAT IS SPACE TO CREATE COLORADO?

Space to Create Colorado is a collaborative effort of multiple organizations to provide affordable workforce housing and working spaces for creative sector entrepreneurs and artists in rural, small town and mountain communities in Colorado. On July 28, 2015, Governor John Hickenlooper announced the first state-driven initiative in the U.S. for affordable housing for artists. Space to Create Colorado will advance mixed-use projects that blend affordable live/work space for artists and their families with non- residential space for creative enterprises and organizations that serve a critical community need.

Nine new projects will be initiated in eight regions of the state by 2019. The first Demonstration Project is in Trinidad. Ridgway was selected as the next community in the Southwestern Colorado region. Future sites will be determined through a competitive process.

Space to Create Colorado is directed by a steering committee comprised of invested partners. Artspace provides market, feasibility and predevelopment consulting services on behalf of Space to Create Colorado. Each of the projects will be customized to meet community needs for workforce housing and commercial space for creative sector entrepreneurs, artists and arts-friendly organizations.

WHO ARE THE PARTNERS & COLLABORATORS?

Led by Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade in partnership with Artspace, the Boettcher Foundation, Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), and History Colorado, this collaborative effort will assist Colorado communities in accessing state, federal, and local government resources, and include private sector and philanthropic support. 

WHO IS ARTSPACE?

Artspace is the nation’s leader in artist-led community transformation, with more than 35 projects in operation across the country and another dozen in development, representing a unique $600 million investment in America’s arts infrastructure. With headquarters in Minneapolis and offices in Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and Washington D.C., Artspace is America’s leading developer of arts facilities and has served as a consultant to hundreds of communities and arts organizations nationwide. To date Artspace has completed nearly 2,000 affordable live/work units for artists and their families as well as more than a million square feet of non-residential space for artists and arts organizations. (www.artspace.org)

WHAT ARE THE GOALS?   

This initiative will stimulate community and economic development in rural, small town and mountain communities by providing long-term affordable and financially sustainable workforce housing and working spaces for creative sector employment. Nine projects initiated across Colorado by 2019 will culminate in roughly $45 million of investment statewide by multiple partners and agencies in direct capital investment.

HOW WAS PAONIA SELECTED?    

After discussion with and approval by the Town Council, the Town and the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition submitted an initial application to CCI in January 2017. Paonia was then selected to complete and submit the full Space to Create application in April 2017. On September 21, 2017, Space to Create Colorado announced that Paonia had been selected as the Space to Create community for Northwest Colorado.

WHAT WERE THE CRITERIA FOR SELECTING A COMMUNITY?

Criteria for selection include such things as concentration of creative sector workforce, availability of historic buildings for adaptive re-use, available developable property, commitment of local resources by a local governing body, and a demonstrated ability to execute community-based initiatives such as the Main Street and Creative District programs.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF “ARTIST AND CREATIVE SECTOR WORKERS”?    

Per CCI, the creative sector in Colorado includes things that are created in the human mind, made by hand or custom designed, and where art takes place, including such occupations as:

Actors, architects, audio and video technicians, art directors, book binding, painters, musicians, singers, song writers, music directors and composers, musical instrument designers and manufacturers, authors and writers, illustrators, publishers photographers, dancers, choreographers, sculptors, advertising and promotions, editors, commercial and industrial designers, sound engineers, interior designers, apparel and fashion designers and manufacturing, set and exhibit designers, reporters and correspondents, museum curators, technicians and conservators, film, television and video script writers and producers, camera operators, broadcast technicians, culinary arts, craftsmen, craft distillers and brewers, sign makers, public relations specialists, multi-media artists and animators, theaters, performance venues, museums, libraries, studios and galleries.

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT THE FIRST STEPS TO BE?

Artspace staff will meet with members of the community and the region in focus groups, representing Creatives, creative enterprises, arts and culture organizations, civic and nonprofit leaders, and the finance sector. A preliminary feasibility study report will be published. In early 2018, an Arts Market Survey will go live.  All Creatives and creative enterprises in our region will be invited to respond to this survey. (Send your email addresses to S2Cpaonia@gmail.com to participate!) The information gathered will be critical to the next phases of the project.