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Promoting safe ‘creative spaces,’ Denver fund will help artists bring their buildings up to code

Author: Adam McCoy - December 7, 2017 - Updated: December 7, 2017

A warehouse in Denver’s RiNo district where artists gathered; it was closed by city fire inspectors for violations in 2016. (

About one year ago, Denver fire officials shut down two popular art spaces for code violations after 36 people died in a devastating fire at the Ghost Ship DIY art space in Oakland, CA.

A new $300,000 fund — announced earlier this week by Denver Arts & Venues — will offer financial support for artists to bring their “creative spaces” up to city code and ensure they’re safe.

Ginger White, deputy director of Arts & Venues, said in a statement the program will grant conditional occupancy in these “creative spaces” while they’re brought up to code and offer financial support for tenants and owners to offset the cost associated with improvements or repairs to become code-compliant.

The fund is an extension of the city’s Safe Occupancy Program, which allows tenants to continue to live in buildings with non-life threatening building code violations if they work with the city and Denver Fire Department on improvements.

“We are committed to cultivating, sustaining and promoting our diverse artistic and creative industry, including ensuring that our artists have a safe, affordable space where they can live and work,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement. “The Safe Occupancy Program and the Safe Creative Spaces Fund are designed to support our creative professionals with resources to get these live/work spaces up to code, keep them affordable and avoid further displacements.”

The city is partnering with RedLine, a nonprofit contemporary art center, to administer the fund. RedLine will also help with support between artists and art business. The city said artists can contact the nonprofit for confidential guidance before enrolling in the program. Fund eligibility details can be found here.

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy covers Denver-area politics for Colorado Politics.