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Amping up the arts in Olde Town Arvada

The next First Friday will be April 6

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The Arvada Visitors Center and the Olde Town Business Improvement District are hoping to add more public art elements to the area to help make it a destination for visitors.

“I think this goes hand-and-hand with a creative culture,” said Nathan Bishop, executive director of the Olde Town Arvada Business Improvement District. “This adds another layer to bring more creativity and vibrancy. We believe we’re a great match to displaying art and having creative experiences in our district.”

Olde Town has an opportunity for public art as one of the only mixed use districts in Arvada, he said.

Jean Gordon, director of the Arvada Visitor Center, agreed.

“Olde Town and art haven’t gone hand-and-hand, and I think there’s people out here that want to make that a bigger piece of the puzzle,” said Gordon, adding that the district will be partnering with Arvada Center and the Arvada Arts and Culture Commission to make that happen.

One way businesses are helping to bolster the arts community in Olde Town is by taking the lead on the initiative to bring more artists and art lovers to the area through First Friday Art Walks.

“In this case, it’s merchant-led and I think it speaks,” Bishop said. “Bringing in artists can be a way that get people walking around this district — it highlights the whole area.”

One of those merchants leading the charge is Jamie Hollier, owner of Balefire Goods. Hollier has hosted an artist in her artisan jewelry shop each month since opening her shop last November.

“I think one of the important things for a strong community is a strong arts community,” Hollier said. “Arvada is actually great. There are a ton of amazing artists that live right here or really close. “We’ve been excited to give those artists a venue and continue to bolster Arvada as a destination for art.”

For the April 6 art walk, participating locations include Vouna, The Cereal Box, Hunter Bay Coffee Roasters Arvada, Gallery 1874, Light Rail Gallery and Grand Lake Brewing.

Looking ahead to May, businesses will showcase the next generation of artists — high school students.

Last year, Olde Town merchants worked with Bethany Norton at Two Roads Charter School to host students artists during an art walk.

This year, the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities is partnering with the Olde Town Business Improvement District for the May 4 Art Walk to expand the 2017 event and include schools from across the Denver metro area. Confirmed businesses for the May 4 art walk are Hunter Bay Coffee Roasters, The Cereal Box, Light Rail Art Gallery, Gallery 1874, Grand Lake’s Yukon Street Tavern, Balefire Goods, Vouna, Hilton Garden Inn, Silver Vines Winery, New Image Restaurant and Brewery and Kline’s Beer Hall.

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