After drawing neighborhood ire last year, a new art festival secures dates in Cherry Creek this summer

The Smash in the Square gets a second chance after the city denied the festival a permit in 2018.

The Five Points Jazz Festival, May 21, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Five Points Jazz Festival, May 21, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

An art festival showcasing work from both local and national artists in Cherry Creek has received its occupancy permit for August, nine months after the city denied a permit for what would have been its inaugural weekend.

Festival director Anthony Constantino Jr. this week said the Smash in the Square festival received its permit for a two-day festival. It will take place right smack in the middle of the Cherry Creek, along St. Paul Street between Second and Third avenues.

Jill Lis, a spokesperson for the city’s Office of Special Events, confirmed to Denverite on Wednesday that the Revocable Street Occupancy Permit for the festival was issued by Public Works on April 12. The permit allows for a partial street closure in Cherry Creek starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 2 through Sunday, Aug. 4. Constantino said the extra day helps with setup. The festival will shut down portions of St. Paul Street.

Constantino said he started planning for this year’s festival last September, a month after the city said it had denied a permit for was supposed to be its first event in Cherry Creek. (He’s had similar festivals in other locations.) He said he made an effort to reach out to local merchants and business owners about his plans to bring a “high-end, upper echelon, really classy fine arts festival.”

“We’re going to be showcasing national, top-shelf artists,” Constantino said. “We welcome all residents in and around Cherry Creek to come and visit for a wonderful experience of arts and culture.”

The festival will include paintings, photography, mixed media, metal works and jewelry. And for an added touch of panache, there will be live violin music to add what Constantino called “a nice ambiance to the event.

He’s cool with calling this year’s festival a comeback story. He’s expecting at least 1,500 people to attend the festival.

“I wanted to do good things, (I) stayed the course,” Constantino said. “I just kept going.”

Last year’s version of the festival was supposed to take place along South Jackson Street, but the permit was denied by Denver Public Works. The department cited insurance requirements and the event not fitting into the department’s standards for the kind of permit Constantino was seeking.

There were also concerns raised by neighbors, who felt they hadn’t been properly notified. Constantino called last year’s situation “unfortunate,” but adds that the city is being supportive this year.

Lis said in an email that Revocable Street Occupancy Permits are “the standard permit issued for any public right-of-way closure,” which includes special events. It’s the same kind of permit the festival applied for last year, just for a different location. South Jackson is a residential street and St. Paul is a mixed-used street. As the title suggests, this permit can be revoked at any time by Public Works, though Lis added revocations “don’t happen often.” When they are revoked, Lis said it’s usually due to safety concerns.

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