Community a Priority for New RiNo Art Park

As much as the RiNo area is rapidly changing, the RiNo Arts District seems to develop its projects at an equal rate, keeping the arts at the forefront. Their latest project is the RiNo Art Park, nestled next to the Platte River near the epicenter of where RiNo was originally conceived, west of 35th and Walnut. The park brings not only art, but a Denver Public Library, a performing arts space, and a culinary center.

Photos courtesy of RiNo Art Park

Two historic buildings were saved from demolition for the project, one housing the new Denver Public Library and the other housing a satellite location for RedLine Contemporary Art Center, providing a small gallery space and eight affordable artist studios. The studios were awarded, each for a year lease, to artists who sustain strong connections and projects with the surrounding communities. Artists will have opportunities to take part in collaborations with Art Park events throughout that year. New artists will be encouraged to apply for the studio space for 2022.

Across from this building, to the west, is a commissary kitchen run by Focus Points Family Resource Center. This program, called the Community Culinary Accelerator (CoCuA) will serve as a wonderful opportunity to struggling, but ambitious, local food purveyors. CoCuA will  prioritize helping small food-service businesses in the area, making 50K or less. grow their business to the next level, offering affordable, supportive programming. Matthew Vernon, Focus Points Director of Social Enterprise, will provide guidance on the business end, with individualized strategies and planning that includes family support to help applicants who may not have been successful pursuing traditional methods of growth. The Accelerator program aims to meet folks where they are now, engaging in existing and trusting relationships that Focus Points has already established through its many other outreach efforts.

With the example and support of Comal, the food incubator program over at the TAXI building that provides kitchen and restaurant space for immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs to practice their skills, the CoCuA will create gardens at the RiNo Art Park site that will be used in the commissary kitchen as well as will provide fresh vegetables for residents at the local farmer’s market.  In addition, the commissary kitchen will be available to any struggling food business with a pay-what-you can system. The space will serve as an overall hub for cultural exchange and as a welcoming community. Organizers hope to collaborate with artists at RedLine to create a small retail space that showcases functional art with the culinary offerings. To apply to the CoCuA program contact:

The conception of the Art Park project originally started in 2009, says Director Molly Pailet. In 2018 the Art District applied for and was awarded the buildings on the site. Programs and renovations to the buildings will continue to unfold as funding is acquired. The collective goal of bringing people together from this region to create collaborative partnerships has been the number one priority of the project.   

The opening weekend of the park jump started the types of events that will become the norm of the park’s campus, including cross-cultural food demonstrations, live music, a book give-away and plenty of art, including many kid-friendly activities. All participants were asked for either their vaccination card or a recent negative COVID test for entry and all programming was available in English and Spanish.

Want to be involved? Community organizations are encouraged to propose their unique projects or events for use of spaces at the Art Park campus. There will also be many opportunities to volunteer. Contact Molly at:

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