There’s an area of Denver that can no longer go unnoticed. After a dozen years living in this vibrant city of Colorado, I feel like I’m being pleasantly surprised by the latest-greatest arts area called RiNo. It stands for River North and is one of the most happening arts districts in the Mile High City. Encompassing a portion of neighborhoods in the northern quadrant of downtown, the arts community shares with visitors a stimulating array of galleries, creative businesses, and events that promote the experience of art. From what I can see and have been experiencing, RiNo is not only growing, its thriving.
Snuggled next to my boyfriend Eric in the very back of the bus, I hung onto my cup of wine and did my best to keep it from sloshing its tasty red liquid all over us. This was my first art bus-tour and a surprise date from my sweetheart. Not only is Eric an artist himself, but he was one of the original first seven artists who started the RiNo District with founder Tracy Weil, so he was especially excited to be bringing me on this art-tour date. Over the years I had heard about a district tagged as RiNo and how it was an up and coming area of the city when it came to the art scene. Fast forward through my years of traveling, coming and go from Denver US home-base, and I find myself now enjoying the explosion of creativity that RiNo is home to.
Our First-Friday art bus tour took us to a myriad of different galleries in River North, with Tracy Weil’s gallery Weilworks as the pre and post-party points and a fun variety of expressive creatives in between. From paintings to glass-blowing to ceramics to wood and steel furniture, I experienced a new side to Denver’s art spirit that I have been missing out on! Here is where I got to know the artists of RiNo on our tour:
- Where Wood Meets Steel
- Blake Street Glass Studio
- Ironton Studios & Gallery
- Fusion Factory
- Plinth Gallery – Ceramic Art
- Chocolate Crisis Center (Yes, you read that right!)
While First Fridays are a big hit each month in Denver, RiNo doesn’t hold back on when to have a good time. Galleries can tend to have openings on Thursday nights, like Frank Martinez’s exhibit that I enjoyed this month at Plus Gallery. Your stomach and taste buds will not be bored either while exploring this imaginative community. First Fridays and openings usually mean tasty small bites to eat and beverages like wine and local beers to sip on. Not only are there restaurants, venues for live music and dance clubs, but there’s even wineries and distilleries. How could it get any better? I’ve enjoyed The Walnut Room for great music, pizza and spirits and Fuel Cafe for deliciously inventive food and enticing modern environment. I know…I’ve only been to two places to eat, but I’m excited to start enjoying all the rest of the gang and you can too. Check out the RiNo page for places to eat and drink.
When it comes to art, I have this thing about it being a magical expression of life that is open and welcoming to all…not exclusive or limiting. My mother is an artist to the extreme, singing and painting when I was a child and still to this day. I say all this because honestly, I tend to shy away from art scenes if the people are quick to judge who is an artist and what is art. Do you know what I’m talking about? I have not experienced anything like that in RiNo. It really is the people who make a community and that is certainly the case in this world of art. The people of RiNo are artists who are down to earth and welcoming, having a blast expressing themselves and sharing that with the world. The energy of enthusiasm that RiNo has is like an excited friend, eagerly inviting you in to ponder and experience with them…what will art be next?