GRACe art space gets surprise inspection, remains open for now

Owners and tenants were told they need to make improvements to get the living space and studios up to code.

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Globeville Riverfront Art Center, otherwise known as GRACe, got an unscheduled visit from the Denver Fire Department and Denver Community Planning and Development yesterday morning.

According to RiNo Art District, the space was not shut down, but owners and tenants were told they need to make improvements to get the living space and studios up to code.

GRACe opened in June 2016 and is a creative home to around 90 artists, some of whom were displaced when Wazee Union studios were closed to make way for development. As the Denver Post reported at the time, the space at 888 E. 50th Ave. has 85 art workspaces ranging from 50 to 675 square feet. At the time, rent was anywhere from $175 to $1,325 per month.

GRACe is not a DIY art space like Rhinoceropolis and Glob, or others that have received unscheduled inspections since the Ghost Ship fire killed 36 in Oakland last December. With the backing of developers Mickey Zeppelin and Neil Adam, the former warehouse runs as a more legitimate studio space. No one lives there.

In a statement, RiNo Art District said, “RiNo stands behind GRACe and ALL artists, as well as the property owners who support them, and this matter has shed more light on the issues we face with zoning and code enforcement in keeping artist spaces not only open, but affordable. We support efforts to be safe, but we also believe the city has been unfocused in working with us to find creative solutions.”

The statement also said that getting the building code compliant will come at a significant cost and the possibility of closure is “is very real in the near future.”

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