The Navajo Arts District is near death. Rising rents and ruthless developers, who are anxiously waiting to acquire the land for more three-story $800,000 townhouses, are forcing the galleries to move. Edge is planning a move to Concept 2017, the new 11-acre complex being developed by Jeanie Nuances King. It’s located just north of the oil refineries in Commerce City. It’s place most people choose not live. That is, until the artist move in. The good thing is Jeanie owns the land. Jeannie is an artist, former gallery owner and real estate developer. Ice Cube Gallery, currently on hiatus after closing their RiNo location, will reopen at Concept. Pirate and Next are also moving but have not announced their new locations. Zip37 will be the only remaining gallery on Navajo. It’s doubtful Zip37 can survive on its own.
It’s the end of an era for the co-op galleries on Navajo. It’s also the start of a new era. Denver’s loss is Commerce City’s gain. I have many fond memories of art events on Navajo. Pirate’s strong stable of artists and loyal following will automatically make its new location an art destination. I’m looking forward to creating new memories at Concept and the other galleries’ new homes. Artists are survivors and pioneers. They will create new happenings and adventures. One of those destinations will be Concept thanks to Jeanie. Another thanks goes to the artists for being strong and refusing to close their co-ops. They have the same pioneering spirit that the early settlers brought to Denver in 1858.