Glimpse of a 'Very Cool' Art Lab in Denver


I’ve been fortunate to enjoy a nice chunk of time back in Denver and Boulder. Given that this has been a “working vacation,” however, there are still a few things I haven’t had a chance to do and a few places I haven’t had a chance visit. RedLine, recommended by a good friend of mine, is one such place. The about page states that it is “a diverse urban laboratory where art, education and community converge. Our vision is to foster forms of social practice in the arts that inspire inquiry and catalyze change.” (This might also be described as Anne Bait.) Among RedLine’s community programs is Reach Studio where people from the community, including Denver’s homeless and transitional populations, have a place to do creative work. There’s also the Youth Engagement Zone (YEZ), a collaborative, community-based learning approach that brings schools, local businesses and residents together. And, of course, the space itself (designed by Semple-Brown ) looks amazing, even from the outside. Very Cool.

A visit will, unfortunately, have to wait until next time. In the meantime, I’ve got plenty to keep me occupied while I prepare to head back to the Midwest and the beginning of another school year.

Listening to jazz in City Park late Sunday afternoon, an environment that is simultaneously energetic and relaxing, where some people are enjoying one another’s company, and others are tossing footballs and baseballs around, playing volleyball or otherwise engaged in a game of Quidditch—yes, Quidditch, with broomsticks and lacrosse paddles no less—while the last of the summer concert series winds down is quite a treat.

The designer in me can’t help but appreciate the fact that in this particular case, a park, full of people and noise, creates a sense of place that rivals even the most well-designed interior spaces. I like creating order out of chaos. I like the clean aesthetic that comes from simple type, and am drawn to examples of design that exemplify clear communication. But I also appreciate the aspects of any creative output that are spontaneous and unruly, and the human interaction that comes from shared experiences that are facilitated through art and music.

The past few weeks have been a reminder of the numerous things there are to appreciate about my home away from home, though in coming back to visit from time to time, I’m able to see and experience it with fresh eyes.