40 West Arts District Media & Press Kit
Established: August 2011
Certification: June 2014
Artist Members - 165
Creative Enterprises – 155
(as of Feb. 2019)
Hundreds of free arts events throughout the year for all ages, more than 100,000 annual visitors to district venues, $800,000+ in artist/creative opportunities since inception, 290% growth in creative enterprises/jobs since 2014
Liz Black, Executive Director
William Marino, Board Chair
303-275-3430 | info@40WestArts.org
40 West ArtLine (4-mile walking & biking art experience)
Pirate Contemporary Art
Lakewood Arts Gallery
Gallery of Everything
Pasternack’s Art Hub
CORE New Art
40 West Arts Gallery
40 West Studios
Reed Art & Imaging
Hyperspace Vintage Video Arcade
WestFax Brewing Company
. . . and, yes, Casa Bonita, too!
About 40 West Arts: (SHORT)
40 West Arts is a non-profit, state-certified creative district along Lakewood’s historic West Colfax Avenue with the mission of energizing our community through arts experiences, exhibitions, and events that engage the whole family. 40 West Arts is home to an ever-growing number of creative venues and also includes the 40 West ArtLine (40WestArtLine.org), a four-mile walkable, bikeable outdoor arts experience. 40 West Arts is a top westside destination. More info at 40WestArts.org.
About 40 West Arts: (LONG)
40 West Arts is a non-profit, state-certified creative district along Lakewood’s historic West Colfax Avenue with the mission of energizing West Colfax through arts experiences, exhibitions, and events that engage the whole family. 40 West Arts is home to an ever-growing number of creative venues, from live performances at Benchmark Theatre to cutting-edge contemporary art at Edge Gallery, Next Gallery, Pirate: Contemporary Art and others. The district includes the campus of Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design and the popular Mexican-themed entertainment restaurant Casa Bonita, a national top-ten roadside destination.A new amenity in the district is the 40 West ArtLine (40WestArtLine.org), a four-mile walkable, bikeable outdoor arts experience funded in part by the National Endowment for the Art and the Lakewood-W. Colfax BID. The ArtLine intersects three parks and comprises 70+ art installations including sculptures, murals, fence art, interactive games and more.Visit 40 West Arts during its monthly First Friday opening receptions, quarterly Colfax Art Crawl events and Colfax ArtFest, a two-day festival featuring live music, art happenings, creative vendors, food trucks, craft beer and more. Whether for its arts experiences, creative venues and public art, eclectic eateries or micro brews, 40 West Arts is a top westside destination. More information is available at 40WestArts.org.
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Our Major Contributors:
Key Dates and Milestones
The concept of an arts district was conceived through a community effort. The first reference about an arts movement in the corridor appeared in the West Colfax Action Plan. The plan, which involved broad community input from more than 200 community members, focused on sparking revitalization in the corridor and was put together by Mayor Steve Burkholder’s Blue-Ribbon Committee on West Colfax between 2004-2005 and chaired by Councilmember Bob Murphy (who would later become the City’s next mayor). The West Colfax Action Plan was adopted by Lakewood City Council in January 2006.
Recognizing that an arts district would need a consistent and predictable funding mechanism, key members of the Mayor’s Blue-Ribbon Committee begin a two-year campaign (2009-2011) to form a business improvement district (BID) along West Colfax in Lakewood, an effort that had failed twice before in the 80s and 90s.
Concurrent with the BID initiative, the City and local community leaders launch an outreach campaign to engage the community about the possibility of an arts district. The community meetings gain momentum and culminate in a June garden party attended by 200+ people at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design to unveil the district name, 40 West Arts – a tribute to West Colfax as part of historic U.S. 40.
The BID committee files with the state to incorporate 40 West Arts as a nonprofit corporation and immediately files documents with the federal government to become a 501(c)3 tax-exempt entity.
The BID’s successful petition drive leads to a special election in which it is overwhelmingly approved by more than 80% of the vote on November 1, 2011.
Leadership of 40 West Arts is turned over to the BID. The BID, with the ongoing support of the City, rallies a capable and passionate Champions Group of 10+ local residents and creatives, who work collaboratively to move the emerging district forward.
40 West Arts founding board members complete its first strategic plan and launches its first programming effort, called Art Along Colfax, placing artwork in more than 25 publicly accessible spaces in West Colfax businesses to showcase local artists.
The City, with funding from an EPA Grant and support from local neighborhood associations, the BID, and the 40W Champions, publishes the visionary 40 West Arts Urban Design & Mobility Plan (November) and it is adopted by the City Council.
40 West Arts receives its 501(c)3 tax-exempt status from the federal government (June).
40 West Arts formally enters the Colorado Creative Industries “Creative Districts” Program to engage in a two-year process for possible state certifications.
The BID moves its office from its W. Colfax location to a space on Teller Street to facilitate a new community art gallery; 40 West Arts announces 40 West Art Gallery and begins renovations with volunteers to prepare the space for its first exhibition (September).
40 West Arts produces Riot I, a nine-act variety show for a sold-out crowd at Mary Harris Auditorium on the historic campus of Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (October).
40 West Arts in its newly rehabbed gallery space holds its first Colfax-inspired exhibition, “Traveling Route 40: A Celebration of the Character of Colfax Avenue.” The well-publicized show travels to seven destinations along Colfax from Golden to Aurora and helps put 40 West Arts on the radar of the metro Denver art scene (March & April).
The EDGE Theater moves into the heart of the district, taking over the warehouse and studio space at 40 West Gallery to create an 80-seat, black box performance venue and plans to produce eight dramatic performances per year (March).
RTD’s W Line opens and 40 West Arts and the West Colfax Corridor host celebrations at each of its five rail stations, including a pop-up art street fair on Lamar Street and community festival on the pavilion at Lakewood-Wadsworth Station (April).
With funding from its local partners, 40 West Arts launches its Artist in Residency Program, awarding a live-work space to a junior-senior student at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design for one year in return for year-long service to the 40 West Arts community.
40 West Arts receives its state certification from Colorado Creative Industries, becoming at the time one of only 11 state-certified creative districts in Colorado (June), building even greater momentum in community.
Gallery of Everything relocates from Georgetown, Colorado, to a new location on Ammons Street.
Lakewood Arts Council, the City’s oldest arts organization, agrees to move to the district and locate its gallery in Lamar Station Plaza (next to Casa Bonita).
After a two-year process that included a feasibility study and a market demand survey, Lakewood City Council votes unanimously to approve a pre-development agreement with Artspace, a nonprofit developer of artist live/works space, to locate a project in 40 West Arts District (April).
The district, with its partners and sponsors, holds the first-ever West Colfax MuralFest along 16th Avenue, delivering seven new murals to the community during a one-day music and art festival (August).
The City, with support of the BID and 40 West Arts, publishes the 40 West Arts Placemaking Implementation Plan to map out the aesthetics of wayfinding and pedestrian amenities for the district (September).
40 West Studios opens its doors in the heart of the district, providing professional work space for 14 professional artists (September).
Both Gallery of Everything and Lakewood Arts Council relocate and open their galleries in Lamar Station Plaza
The West Colfax 2040 Action Plan is published showcasing accomplishes of the creative district and helping to shape a shared creative vision for the community
40 West Arts wins the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA) Leadership Award in back-to-back years for its collaborative accomplishments along Lakewood’s West Colfax Corridor (March 2015 & March 2016)
40 West Arts hires its first Executive Director, Liz Black, a local Two Creeks Neighborhood resident who started as a 40 West volunteer and served as the district’s first Program Manager in 2015.
40 West Arts hosts its first-ever Summit, a collaborative community meeting to encourage deeper community engagement with the creative district and solicit input on future programming.
The City of Lakewood and 40 West Arts are awarded a national Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant to develop the first phase of the 40 West ArtLine, a four-mile walking and biking art experience (May).
The Creativity Lab of Colorado, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that offers an incubator for creative enterprises and support services for other emerging creative district, opens its doors in 40 West Arts District.
40 West Arts expands its First Friday openings to include family friendly experiences and performances that meander through the district, from dancing jellyfish to circus performers, helping to encourage the walkability of the district.
With support from the BID and the City, 40 West Arts installs its two, artistic Entry Monuments in the medians of West Colfax to demark the core of the creative district (April).
City of Lakewood wins the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Impact Award in the “Inspire” Category for its work with 40 West Arts.
NEXT Gallery, Pirate Contemporary Art, and EDGE Gallery all move to the district and hold their first exhibitions in April, June and October, respectively.
Reed Art and Imaging, a 30+ year-old mainstay for many artists and photographers, purchases the historic Lakewood Theater building at 9000 W. Colfax Ave. and announces it will move its business to 40 West Arts District 9000 West Colfax Avenue
To the delight of its patrons and its partner venues in the district, 40 West Arts further expands its March, June, and November First Fridays, now called Colfax Art Crawls, with even more arts-related experiences, attracting 1000+ attendees to these events.
Americans for the Arts recognizes the BID and 40 West Arts for its leadership and innovation in promoting the arts with its Michael Newton Award.
After a two-year process and broad community support, the City and 40 West Arts launch the new 40 West ArtLine, a four-mile walking and biking art experience with 70+ art installation that connect three public parks in the West Colfax community
With seed funding from the BID, Pasternack’s Pawn Shop becomes Pasternack’s Art Hub and begins to hold pop-up art events.
With support from the BID, The Colfax Museum moves from E. Colfax to W. Colfax, locating in Pasternack’s Art Hub.
CORE New Art and Kanon Collective both sign leases to move to Pasternack’s Art hub with openings scheduled for early 2019.