BirdSeed Collective’s artists have been creating in the last week, finishing new murals to brighten the Globeville Recreation Center. The smell of paint lingered on Monday when the art nonprofit held an open house for the center it now runs.
Carla Padilla, the collective’s associate director, was accepting hugs and compliments Monday. She sniffed the air with a smile and declared: “Ooh, some work’s going on here.”
Padilla and other members had already been running arts programs and a weekly community food bank at the facility when they learned in August they had won a competitive process for a $46,800, four-year contract with the Denver City Council to run the center.
Padilla said Birdseed will extend food programs. Plans include a bingo night when the prizes will be groceries; classes on gardening and cooking; a bulk buying club; and a pop-up grocery store. In the past, the collective had only two hours one day a week to distribute food to the hungry at the center.
“We were always rushing in and rushing out,” Padilla said. “We really want it to be like it is today: relaxed.”
“Just to be open for the community is really awesome,” she added. “I grew up in this center.”
The percussive music of children bouncing basketballs played in the background as adults snacked on sandwiches and pastries and signed sheets asking for volunteers to run the bingo nights and other programs.
BirdSeed co-founder Anthony Garcia Sr., who was recently named a resident artist at the RedLine contemporary art center, said he planned to start slowly to ensure things were done right and would be sustained. Garcia, known for his bright, graphic street art, hoped to extend the initial city contract to run the center where he spent time when he was a boy.
“We plan on being here indefinitely,” he said.
Garcia was born and raised in Globeville. He helped form Birdseed as both a platform for emerging artists and a community development group.
Parks and Recreation had been considering shuttering Globeville and two other recreation centers in 2010 because of the recession. Instead, Street Kidz took over running Globeville, Colorado Miners took over the Johnson Recreation Center in Elyria-Swansea and Denver Inner City Parish took over the College View Recreation Center in southwest Denver. In 2014, Street Kidz pulled out of Globeville Recreation Center, returning control back to the city.