by MARY WILLSON
There is little shortage of creativity, collaboration and community in Fort Collins, but a space to showcase these worthy aspects has been a long time coming.
The Downtown Artery was founded in May by a small team of artists looking to bring a space to perform and create freely. It is a studio space, gallery, concert venue, classroom, and all-around creation space that is committed to the arts of all shapes and sizes. In three words, it is “art studios, collaboration, awesome.”
“We want to foster creativity, be a hub for the arts and encourage people to create and collaborate through any medium or means possible,” is their mission statement, according to director of operations and partial owner, Amy Bradley.
The oldest commercial building space in Fort Collins is now the creative home to 23 local artists (and growing). Bradley owns the business with Patrick Edmiston of PHOCO (Photography Collaborative).
The Artery studio space is rented in six month terms, and those who rent have 24 hour access. The studio walls double as a full gallery. The main room is large yet cozy, which creates the perfect intimate musical concert space.
“Fort Collins is so collaborative. We are almost amazed, and so grateful for how much positive support we have gotten. It is hard to be in the art business,” Bradley said.
In addition to the great space that is provided for creation, the concert space is being used every Friday in collaboration with Scene Magazine and KRFC to bring intimate, accoustic concerts to audiences of all ages.
“Our goal is to help foster more places in the community that are outlets for local music,” Michael Mockler, founder and publisher of Scene Magazine said.
The Downtown Artery Acoustic Showcase Series is a weekly collaboration in which the gallery space is transformed with soft melodies and rockin’ talent.
Connecting with musicians, enjoying completely homemade goodies from the in-house baker and enjoying the on-the-wall art are highlights of the series, which are free to the public.
Happening 7:30pm until 10 pm weekly, local talent is able to connect to their audience on a very personal level during these intimate concerts.
Mockler was introduced to the Downtown Artery through a SpokesBUZZ event and realized the space would be a great place to bring local talent that isn’t necessarily in the market to play at the larger local venues like Hodi’s Half Note or The Aggie.
“It just clicked with me that it would be a great place for music, and Bradley and I agreed that we would move forward with this. It was very serendipitous,” Mockler said.
Then, Vincent Burkhardt was brought into the picture through his constant dedication to mentoring local youth and helping these young performers get in front of audiences through his KRFC show “Rhythm of Youth.” The show brings on nine to18-year-olds weekly on the locally-broadcast radio program, giving them the skills to perform on the radio and in turn aiding them in building their musical name.
“Giving youth a space to create and honoring what they are doing is really important,” Burkhard said. “Being in front of an audience is invaluable they learn so much.”
Burkhardt is the connection between active musicians around the community and the showcase
“There are so many different elements between Amy and the Artery, Vincent and the Youth Projects, and Scene Magazine,” Mockler said. “All the pieces really just fit together. It’s exciting.”
The Downtown Artery Acoustic Showcase Series is an upcoming platform, soon to be an established space to listen to new music and view artwork.
“I can only speak for myself, but for me the whole art studio is something that I always wanted,” Bradley said. “Having this space, and especially a shared space where you can motivate each other and when you go there you know you are going there to create – it’s amazing.”
As of now, only a few classes are being offered but the studio is looking to expand classes, teachers and students.
“We are all artists ourselves, and we all yearn for knowledge, learning, and just collaborating. Fort Collins is a perfect place to do that, its all about community and collaboration instead of competing. That’s how we actually became a team,” Bradley said.
The Downtown Artery Acoustic Showcase in December:
Fridays, 7:30- 10 – 262 Linden St,
all ages, free
• 12/06 More than Physics / Charity Mondok
• 12/13 Amanda Michaels / Savage Cabbage
• 12/20 Amber Baack / Blue Taboo
Check out all the events at www.downtownartery.com/events
• Tuesday, (1 pm) and Thursday (2 pm) every week: Martin Cantrell’s Waldorf School Art Classes For Kids
• Wednesday, December 11, 18 5:30 pm: Phonography 101- Take Better Pictures Instantly!
• Thursday, December 19, Saturday, December 20: Photography Intensive- Beyond the Basics!