For the past year, Trinidadians have been feeling a sense of renewal all around them and often expressed that feeling without really knowing why and then – bam! – this news broke:
New Colorado Initiative Wants To Give Rural Artists 'Space To Create'
By Stacy Nick of KUNC
In the shadow of the Loveland Artspace Arts Campus, a new statewide initiative to create mixed-use sites for artists in nine rural Colorado communities was unveiled by Gov. John Hickenlooper.
A first of its kind in the country, the Space to Create initiative will feature customized affordable housing/work space for artists as well as commercial space for creatively inclined organizations and businesses.
Hickenlooper announced the initiative's first site will be in Trinidad.
"To be blunt, Denver and Boulder and Fort Collins, they don't need that much help. The more rural parts of the state are still struggling and some of them have very high unemployment rates up close to 6 percent," Hickenlooper said. "So we want to try to put energy into those communities and try to make sure that their economy gets a lift as well."
"In order for a project like this to be successful, a community really needs to want it and so for us, the commitment on the part of local leadership is a huge factor in making these projects successful," said Shannon Joern, Senior Director of National Advancement for Artspace. "Because we spend a lot of time on the ground working for sometimes years to get these projects done and we need partnerships in the community."
In Trinidad, work has already begun on its Space to Create project. The city will work with officials from Artspace, which will serve as lead consultant along with Colorado Creative Industries.
“Trinidad is one of the most beautiful cities in the state of Colorado and yet, for a variety of reasons, it’s kind of struggled over the last several decades,” Hickenlooper said of the town known for its cobbled streets. “I think if we can figure out some ways to get more cultural energy into Trinidad… You know – look at all the people that go to Santa Fe. Right? Trinidad is every bit as cool as Santa Fe. We just haven’t branded it as successfully as they have in New Mexico.”