Space to Create Colorado

Program Summary

Space to Create Colorado assists communities with the development of affordable live-work and commercial spaces. Non-residential spaces are available for creative enterprises and organizations that serve critical community needs. The program is the nation’s first state-led initiative for affordable housing for creative sector workers in rural areas.

Space to Create Colorado will support nine projects throughout Colorado’s rural communities. In 2015, Trinidad was selected as the community for the first demonstration project.

Communities selected for Space to Create Colorado include Trinidad, Ridgway, Grand Lake, and Salida.

Each project is customized to meet local community needs and goals. After a community is accepted to Space to Create Colorado, artists and creatives can apply for residency in those projects. 

Space to Create Colorado utilizes Artspace as the lead consultant for feasibility and market studies. Space to Create Colorado projects are eligible for funding from the Boettcher Foundation.

Map of Space to Create projects in Colorado


Type: Consulting/technical assistance and grant

For: Municipalities with Colorado Creative Districts

OEDIT division: Colorado Creative Industries

Read more: Artspace Colorado Case Study

Communities are prioritized based on readiness, public will, local resources, and housing demands.

The following communities have been selected for Space to Create Colorado projects:

  • Trinidad 
  • Ridgway 
  • Grand Lake
  • Salida
  • Carbondale
  • Grand Junction

Requirements for consideration

To apply for this program, your community needs to have:

  • certified as a CCI Creative District
  • geographically distant from urban areas
  • a creative sector workforce
  • historic buildings available for adaptive re-use
  • property available for development
  • a local governing body and local partners willing to provide money and other resources
  • a steering committee to manage the project

Requirements after selection

If your community is selected for Space to Create Colorado, you need to:

  • enter into a memorandum of understanding with local partners and include it in your full application
  • enter into a memorandum of understanding with Space to Create Colorado
  • identify a $35,000 cash match for feasibility and art market studies
  • designate a local point of contact for planning documents, payments, community engagement, site selection
  • identify paid staff from community partners to lead public engagement meetings for the feasibility study and art market study, marketing the art market survey, and communication with community groups about the process
  • prove capacity and willingness to contribute to project pre-development and capital expenses
  • remain a certified creative district

If your community wants to receive matching funds from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, your lead applicant needs to be a municipal government.

Preferred qualifications

To make your application competitive, you will need to:

  • describe the financial health of the municipal budget
  • identify up to $35,000 to fund part of feasibility, art market, and pre-development studies
  • develop capacity and willingness to contribute to project development and capital expenses (project predevelopment costs are typically 10% of total project cost)
  • organize a group of local leaders to provide logistical and tactical support for community engagement during the study phases
  • identify necessary municipal staff resources of time and capacity
  • develop a proof of concentration and types of creative sector and workforce
  • make sure that affordable live/workspace for creative enterprises and artists are part of the community’s planning documents and strategic plans
  • identify available properties and buildings
  • know the property owners in and around the creative district and Main Street program or development area
  • work with your Colorado Department of Local Affairs regional manager and update them of your community’s work and progress

Currently, applications for potential projects are being reviewed through the Community Revitalization Grant Application. After your application is approved, the phases are:

  • feasibility and market studies – seven months
  • predevelopment, including site control, architectural work, and securing financing – one to two years
  • construction – one to three years

Applications to be a Space to Create community are not open at this time. Please reach out to ruth.wilson@state.co.us with inquiries.

You will need to contact the community’s project lead organization to find out how it is accepting applications for future tenants. The entire Space to Create process takes several years to complete. Communities typically start accepting applications closer to the date of the grand opening of the building.

The following communities have been selected as Space to Create communities:

  • Trinidad - Fully leased
  • Ridgway - Applications open
  • Grand Lake - Applications not yet open
  • Salida - Applications not yet open
  • Grand Junction - Applications not yet open

If you are interested in learning more about Space to Create Colorado, please fill out the form below.

Community Partners

Program Manager

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