D’art Gallery will focus on local contemporary artists

Getting it together quickly was a ‘labor of love'

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After a quick turnaround, one gallery space has turned into another as 17 local artists banded together to create D’art Gallery.

When the CORE gallery closed earlier this year to move to the new 40 West Art District in Lakewood, D’art founder Carrie MaKenna saw an opportunity. On May 28 she asked a group of artists to come to a meeting to see if they were interested in starting a new gallery in the space at 900 Santa Fe Drive. That day, 17 people signed on, said artist and D’art spokesperson Suzanne Frazier.

“They moved out and then there was the space,” Frazier said. “It just happened.”

The gallery will be artist-focused, allowing each one to have a show during the year, Frazier said. The artists also worked together to decided on the name, putting in the hours to get the gallery ready quickly. Frazier said it has been a “labor of love.”

By July 31, the group had finalized its business paperwork for taxes and to form an official LLC. The next day the gallery held a sneak peak for its first exhibition, which runs through Sept. 15.

“Boom shaka-laka is all I have to say,” joked MaKenna about how quickly the gallery came together. She added that “it was right off the bat that we had lots of interest” from local artists.

D’art Gallery — the “D” stands for Denver — has 16 gallery spaces. One space holds work created by a pair of artists. Frazier said their works spans across several different mediums: paint, drawing, ceramics and more. What the artists, including her own work, have in common is that they are all contemporary artists.

The gallery operates as a cooperative gallery, which means that the artists pay dues. It is a method that is “tried and tested in Denver,” and started in the early 1980s, MaKenna said. She estimated that there are between seven and 10 co-op galleries in the metro Denver area.

Frazier said that D’art stands next door to the Spark Gallery, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. It is the oldest co-op in the Santa Fe Art District. Frazier said it will be an interesting juxtaposition putting the newest co-op next to the oldest.

MaKenna said D’art would be doing exhibitions a little bit differently than most co-ops though. Each due-paying artist will have the opportunity to do at least one solo show per year. The solo shows will go in sets of two, where the artists can display multiple works for three weeks at a time.

The gallery will also have group shows, such as the one it is hosting for its opening exhibition, Frazier said. The first exhibition had a grand opening on Aug. 9, with each artist showing one piece. Artists switched out their pieces on Aug. 22, creating an entirely new show for the second half of the exhibition.

“The best way we thought was to allow each member to have at least one show per year,” MaKenna said of the system. “It’s a continuously changing and unique experience for gallery-goers.”

MaKenna said the gallery also gives them an opportunity to do an open call for national, or even international gallery shows. The first national show will happen later this year.

“It gives us a chance to invite other local artists to show,” she said, “but it also gives us a chance to open it up.”

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