Realizing more to creative spaces than meets the eye: Colorado's creative landscape transforms with $98 Million from the Community Revitalization Grant

Families walking from their neighboring elementary school to an outdoor concert at Strawberry Park Amphitheater in Steamboat Springs.

Local and emerging artists in the newly designated Auroral Cultural Arts District (ACAD) reconvene at their nearby arts facility to develop their art.

Communities in Ignacio, home to the Southern Ute people, gather at the Dancing Spirit community arts center, serving a need for art education, creative outlets for the community, and creating destinations to attract visitors.

These parts of our state are multifaceted, not only are they beloved community spaces, they also enrich our economies through additional means. Creative spaces provide essential needs for communities like workforce housing, commercial spaces, child care centers, and retail partnerships.  

Some of these previously underutilized spaces benefit from a little tender loving care—which the Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) division at the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) recognizes. With this need in mind, the Community Revitalization Grant (CRG) arose to provide 59 projects with the support needed to get them back to their glory. Let’s take a glance at some project highlights…

Formerly a bus terminal, rest stop, and station for Greyhound Bus Lines, in 2021 the vacated terminal generated an opportunity to transform this space and help it evolve as a pinnacle point for Downtown Grand Junction. With the help of the $3.2 million awarded to Grand Junction Downtown Development Authority (DDA), this multi-use development project will serve as a commercial, event, and artist space while also providing essential workforce housing.

The plan for the first of the two buildings (connected by a skybridge), is to host an energizing mix of commercial uses surrounding a central courtyard, including an innovative culinary operation and a first-of-its-kind downtown Space to Create artist co-op called Terminal S2C. It will include a large, modern gallery and event space along with 12 individual artist studios and a multiple-use community space.

The second building will include additional arts, culinary and retail offerings for downtown pedestrians as well as up to 90 urban apartments, of which 30 rental units will be maintained for the local workforce. A growing moment for Grand Junction, The Terminal serves as the first workforce, and the first mixed-income project in the downtown area.

“We’re so thankful to the team at Colorado Creative Industries for believing in our vision for The Terminal and helping us make it a reality. It’s the support from grants such as this one that truly makes Colorado the standout state that it is,” said Brandon Stam, Executive Director, Downtown Grand Junction and GJ Creates.

Each of the 59 projects shared similar effects to their communities. Consider the Center for the Arts Evergreen (CAE) for example, which plays a vital role in the livability and economic vitality of this mountain community. With the assistance of $750,000 awarded by the CRG, the CAE Phase II expansion project included a 5,000-square-foot addition to its existing home in a renovated historic church and schoolhouse in the Bergen Park area of Evergreen, Colorado. The expansion will be thoughtfully and efficiently comprising a large mixed-use community room, six rental studios for practicing artists, five offices for full-time staff, and a dedicated all-inclusive ceramics facility. The capacity of the open concept mixed-use space serves up to 50 practicing artists or over 200 event attendees. The additional private studio space enables an artist-in-residence program which enhances CAE’s distinction as a cultural destination and cornerstone for Evergreen.

In Mancos, Colorado, a new Mancos Commons Building—previously the Mancos Common Press (MCP) formed in 2013—is restored to create additional space for workshops, retail sales, residential and office spaces. The 4,000 square foot, two-story mixed-use development includes three single-bedroom affordable housing units, large workshop space, and retail and office space. In alignment with the vision of creating a “commons” area where all feel welcome, the addition of a pocket park provides a casual and welcoming outdoor community gathering space. The grant awarded this project $1,300,000.

“Each selected project represents how intentional, mixed-use development creates economic vibrancy through the arts. The ability to create essential community spaces throughout the state is proof that the creative industries in Colorado are setting the standard for creative community development across the country. These spaces will serve as economic and cultural centers for both guests and residents,” said Josh Blanchard, Director of Colorado Creative Industries.

Overall, these projects create over 598 housing units, including over 500 workforce, affordable and low-income housing units. The selected projects are bountifully spread across the state of Colorado. Over a third of the projects revitalize historic landmarks, plus about 50% are in rural communities or in a Creative District. In addition, sustainability was kept in mind with the projects as about 85% of them include renewable energy or clean energy features.

Living here, we may recall our favorite local galleries, outdoor venues, artist-in-residence programs, and similar creative spaces that bring everyone together. They bring color into our world and provide the necessary resources to encourage creativity in the artist and in future hopefuls. Providing opportunities for these spaces to flourish and nurture their communities enables a Colorful Colorado for everyone no matter the location or background.

To view a full map of the awarded projects, please visit the CRG website and reach out to Director of CCI Josh Blanchard via email ( for any questions.

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