Santa Fe Drive has had a long history of artists and artist’s studios. In recent years many galleries and artist studios began to move into the area as rents in other parts of Denver rose. In 2003 a group of about 17 galleries, museum 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 between Alameda and 12th avenues on and near Santa Fe Drive and Kalamath street. 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 guests from seasoned collectors, to artists, to new art lovers, to join the friendly and welcoming feel of the Art District.
The ADSF works with other neighborhood organizations such as NEWSED and the Business Improvement District to improve and beautify the area. For example, the ADSF and NEWSED split the cost of the street banners; the BID teams with the ADSF to tackle graffiti and to beautify the streets and sidewalks.
The Art District offers a free luxury guided-shuttle coach operating every first Friday of the month during the art walk to enhance the experience of the 5,000-plus First Friday art walk patrons. The shuttle coach runs a continuous loop from the Osage St. light rail station, to galleries and creative businesses, and around to parking at West High School at Galapago St. The guided-shuttle coach is available each First Friday from 5:30-9:30 PM, shuttle stops are clearly marked along the way. Shuttle route and parking options are indicated on our map.
The ADSF is constantly growing with complementary businesses such as architects, yoga studios, furniture and lighting stores, book stores, antique stores, radio stations, restaurants, coffee shops, and full time residents are moving into the neighborhood.
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 with Visit Denver has contributed to its growing cultural tourism business.
The upcoming year for Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe will emphasize art collecting, educating, community development and working artist studios. ADSF will have a prominent role in Denver Art’s Week and the month of Printmaking. Other events include the Art District’s annual “Best of Exhibit and Awards,” Denver’s Biennial of the Americas, Luminaries, and a multitude of celebrations happening year round.