June 8, 2023
Community Spotlight: RiNo Art District Membership Program
RiNo Art District is an area of north Denver that includes the historical neighborhoods of Globeville, Elyria-Swansea, Five Points, and Cole. It was started by a grassroots group of artists that wanted to connect art, art organizations, and artists to this growing area of town.
As part of their commitment to creating an arts community that is accessible and informative to Denver creatives, RiNo Art District offers memberships to artists and creatives starting at $55 per year. Membership benefits include access to advocacy resources like Creative Study, a resource designed to help creatives understand the ecosystem of funding, finance, and law that is approachable and applicable to creatives trying to find the balance between the production of art work and managing their business.
I had the opportunity to email with Charity Von Guinness, Executive Director of RiNo Art District to learn more about their membership programs and what is happening this summer in RiNo.
RiNo Art District has a new artist membership open to all artists and art educators. Could you share more about this initiative?
RiNo Art District has provided artists memberships for several years, but we wanted to reimagine what the structure and benefits could be at the beginning of 2023. Artists founded this District; they have built it and made it valuable, so we wanted to make sure we were delivering the most value we could to creatives and artists throughout Colorado. Our Membership Manager, Brittany Ross, listened and worked hard to find meaningful ways to support and empower artists with new benefits - from networking, promotion and wellness resources to art supply discounts and financial literacy - she has built an awesome resource repository for the creative community, and we hope to expand our support well outside the District.
What is Creative Study and why did you choose to partner with them on the artists membership?
We are honored to be partnering with Creative Study - a financial literacy platform out of New York. I have been in dialogue with them for many years and feel their rigorous program is providing an incredible tool for creatives to build wealth.
They understand that every creative person charts their own path and career, but they don’t have to do it alone, and so we partnered with them to offer FREE access to their platform for all RiNo’s artist members.
Every instructor on the platform is an expert in their field and committed to the empowerment of the creative community. Many are also artists themselves who’ve experienced the same confusion about personal finances and career-building. RiNo members will have year-long access to a growing library of self-paced video lessons and worksheets that cover everything from taxes, freelance finance, healthcare, “artist” visas, IP to the Solidarity Economy. I felt Creative Study was really filling a gap that art schools tend to leave out - building a thriving, lucrative business. The team there is aligned with our vision to understand artists as essential and rid our society of the ‘starving artist’ trope once and for all! I am thrilled we are able to get the word out about their resources.
How is the RiNo Art District building community in an area that has seen a lot of development over the years?
The question on my mind is how are we building a sustainable community? To do that requires intentional co-creation, agility, adaptability, intense collaboration, and radical transparency. The RiNo Art District community already has all of these ingredients, plus a passion for artists and culturally rich neighborhoods that have given this area immense value, so I am extremely hopeful for what the future holds.
That doesn’t mean the work isn’t challenging. We’ve seen what happens in so many other cities when art and artists are sidelined as areas are developed or redeveloped. While we don’t claim to have all the answers, I think we have an incredible opportunity to remake the art district model and demonstrate that the priorities of artists, residents, entrepreneurs, developers, and nonprofits are not disparate or competing. We can all mutually benefit with mutual accountability.
It is exciting to see you are presenting DENVER WALLS in September. This will be the first time it is presented in Denver. What can individuals expect from this event? How can the community get involved?
Expect the unexpected! Ally Grimm came to us with a vision for a high-impact, future-leaning festival that aligns with our vision of empowerment, honor, representation, and access. Visitors can expect to see large-scale murals from a global roster of artists alongside local artists, but beyond the physical murals, we’re going to showcase the intersection of art and new technologies - both the physical and digital worlds.
We’ll have some really exciting augmented reality installations including an AR scavenger hunt where participants can find POAPs (Proof of Attendance Protocol tokens) to take as mementos of their DENVER WALLS experience, a virtual sculpture garden that can be accessed via a web-based platform, and exclusive global merchandise drops featuring designs from participating artists.
There will be lots of ways to get involved. Be sure to follow @denverwallsfestival to stay in the loop!
Summertime in Denver is the BEST! What are you looking forward to this summer in RiNo?
Oh my - isn’t it though? It’s been great to see everything blooming and people taking full advantage of the patio space in the district! RiNo is gearing up for a WILD summer of events we relaunched our First Fridays on June 2 with a blow-out party at our current NO VACANCY residency and have many more surprises ahead so follow us @novacancyrino; Fringe Festival starts June 8; and the Grand Opening of our new flexible use performing art space is happening in RiNo ArtPark on June 24. That is barely scratching the surface as we will continue with ArtPark Al Fresco for families, Culture Movie Nights with artist Cya Davis, monthly Art Markets and RiNo Talks. Whatever your interest, there is definitely something to do in RiNo all summer long!