Denver’s getting 8 weird animated art walls again

Side Stories is bringing eight new artists and eight new film loops to light up the walls of the RiNo Art District.

Two projections in the 2018 Side Stories exhibition. (Ashley Dean)

Two projections in the 2018 Side Stories exhibition. (Ashley Dean)

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Things are different for Side Stories this year.

In its second go-around, the cinematic art showcase has picked another eight artists whose work will be projected on the walls of the RiNo Art District, and it’s moving slightly west.

Things were also a little more competitive this year. There was more time to plan, and the Side Stories team took submissions rather than seeking out work themselves as they did last year.

With the grant for each artist set at $5,000, the jury was flooded with submissions. It received 71, which far exceeded what was expected, juror and executive committee member Mary Lester said. To work through them, the group started by grouping them into storytelling, historical documentation and what Lester described as “new age.”

“It’s funny, there was a good group of us — we all had different backgrounds — of course I like to choose things that, one, aren’t controversial, that will be attractive for the most part to a greater audience, but at the same time, you also find we’re projecting this in a space where creativity and thinking outside of the box is kind of cool.”

Here, as provided by Side Stories, are the eight artists and the themes of their work:

  1. Ella Vance: A young girl discovers a mysterious pair of glasses that take her on a fantastical journey.
  2. Daniel Fickle: One woman rides a horse, the other a motorcycle. These modes of transportation lead to an exploration of their relentless love.
  3. Lares Feliciano: Archival materials and found images are utilized to create a moving collage which coalesces into poignant and surreal cinema.
  4. Brian Fouhy: Words collected through images of murals, store signs and graffiti transform RiNo’s walls into a bedtime story.
  5. Brendan Young: Poetry, written and performed by Colorado’s deaf community, will be brought to life through American Sign Language.
  6. Studio Hippo: Growth and transformation in RiNo will be explored through an animated illustrated map and optical illusions.
  7. Kendra Fleischman: A homage to agriculture illuminates RiNo with repetitive elements and archival farming footage.
  8.  Chris Sessions: This wall celebrates Charrería, the national sport of Mexico (and a precursor to Rodeo) through visually rich modern-day footage.

As last year, each video will be a site-specific, three- to five-minute film loop. Unlike last year, those sites will be further west in the art district, clustered around Brighton Boulevard.

Part of the reason for the move is to give different businesses the benefit of the extra foot traffic Side Stories brings, RiNo Art District President and co-founder Tracy Weil said.

“That particular First Friday [last year] was a lot busier than usual because we had all day activation on the outsides of the buildings. It really drove a lot more traffic for First Friday and throughout the week we did see more traffic for local businesses,” he said.

That’s based on feedback, not hard metrics, but measuring that economic impact is something the district might do this time around.

Brighton Boulevard already had a grand reopening project, but you might consider this it’s grand re-reopening.

“It’s a great way to announce that people can come back and not have to worry about it,” Weil said.

This year Side Stories will have an interactive map, an audio tour and “other surprises,” according to a press release, and nearby businesses will likely offer specials on food and drinks. Walking around is, of course, absolutely free.

It’s all happening March 1-8. Here’s where you’ll find it all:

(Courtesy of RiNo Art District)

(Courtesy of RiNo Art District)

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