Santa Fe Drive has had a long history of artists and artist's studios. In recent years many galleries and artist's studios began to move into the area as rents in other parts of Denver rose. In 2003 a group of about 17 galleries, museums and theatres organized the Art District on Santa Fe as a non-profit corporation with the following mission statement:
Since 2003 membership in the Art District on Santa Fe has grown from 12 to over 60 creative industry members on and around Santa Fe Drive between 5th and 11th Avenues and on adjoining Kalamath Street between Alameda and 11th Avenues. The rise in membership and creative activity in the Art District, a vital "Gateway to Denver" commercial corridor, has become a national model of success in community revitalization led by the creative industries. Our success has been featured in national publications such as Travel+Leisure, USA Today, CNN, Sunset Magazine and the New York Times, amongst others. One of the Art District's "secrets of success" has been the on-going cooperation and the genuine welcoming spirit between its membership and the general public. The Art District freely opens its doors and welcomes its guests, from seasoned collectors to artists to new art lovers, without undue pretension and attitude, to create and maintain the friendly and welcoming feel of the Art District.
The ADSF works with other neighborhood organizations such as NEWSED and the Maintenance District to improve and beautify the area. For example, the ADSF and NEWSED split the cost of the street banners; the Maintenance District teams with the ADSF to tackle graffiti and to beautify the streets and sidewalks.
In order to accommodate the First Friday Art Walk fans and alleviate parking concerns, the ADSF runs a shuttle bus sponsored by The Rackhouse Pub and Breckenridge Brewery. The shuttle runs between the Osage RTD Light Rail Station, West High School parking lot, through the Art District on Santa Fe Dr. and down Kalamath to Alameda Ave. from 5:30 to 9:30 PM every First Friday.
To enhance the experience of the 5,000-plus First Friday Art Walk patrons, connect to downtown Denver and surrounding communities, and provide additional parking options in the Art District, a free luxury guided-shuttle coach operates the First Friday of each month during the Art Walk. The guided-shuttle coach runs a continuous loop between the Light Rail Station at Osage St. and 10th Ave., the galleries and other creatives along Kalamath St. to W. Byers Ave., up Santa Fe Dr. to parking at West High School at Galapago St., to Santa Fe Dr. and 10th St., and back to the Osage Light Rail Station. The guided-shuttle coach operates each and every First Friday Art Walk from 5:30 to 9:30 PM. The First Friday guided-shuttle coach is proudly co-sponsored by the Rackhouse Pub, the Breckenridge Brewery and the Art District on Santa Fe. Shuttle stops are clearly marked along the route. Shuttle route and parking options are indicated on our map.
The ADSF is growing as related and complementary businesses such as architects, yoga studios, furniture and lighting stores, book stores, radio stations, restaurants and coffee shops are moving into the neighborhood. New full time residents are moving in as well.
Denver's Art District on Santa Fe has gained attention in the national press in recent years. Publications include Sunset Magazine, Desert Living, and Travel + Leisure Magazine. In addition, the cities of Cleveland, Ohio, Sacramento, California and Glendale, Arizona recently contacted the ADSF to learn how to create a successful art district in their cities. The ADSF's continuing membership in the Denver Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau has contributed to its growing cultural tourism business.
The upcoming year for Denver's Art District on Santa Fe will emphasize art collecting, education and working artist studios. ADSF will have a prominent role in Denver's Arts Week in November, 2011 with informative art lectures and artist talks. Denver's Art District on Santa Fe continues to grow as new galleries are moving to the area to become part of the vibrant art scene.