DENVER (CBS4) — If the walls of the Rossonian could speak, they’d sing. It’s been decades since the voices of jazz legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington filled the historic lounge. Now, local artists are working together to keep its culture alive.
“By opening this space to local artists, we are building upon a rich legacy of creative expression in Five Points,” said Haroun Cowans, managing director of Five Points Development Corporation. “From the jazz legends of the 1930s to the modern-day visual artists, we have a responsibility to support artists of all types in our neighborhood. It’s about history. It’s about community. It’s about place-keeping.”
Five Points Development Corporation and Palisade Partners have partnered with Redline Contemporary Art Center to host a pop-up art studio inside the lobby before construction begins on the historic hotel’s restoration.
“Artists like Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole not only performed, but stayed in this space. Their energy is still looming here,” said John-Claude Futrell, RedLine CAC Education Director. “This is an exciting thing for artists who live in this neighborhood. Just to come into this historic building is an honor.”
Artists featured at the Rossonian Pop-Up Studio include Morgan Barbary, Richard “Gonzo” Beck, Vittoria Whitsett, Raverro Stinnett, and Joshepine Ferons.
“Being here with all these artists and standing in this place is actually incredible. There’s not a lot of space for artists to be able to go and create. Tons of people are talented, they just need the opportunity and the access,” said Morgan Barbary, one of five artists using the lobby as a workspace.
The pop-studio inside the lobby will act as a temporary hub designed for these artists to create work influenced by the area’s culture. Over the next few weeks, they will create artwork, individual and collaborative, that speaks to the historic context of the hotel and Five Points.
“The walls are so gorgeous it would almost be a sin to put something on them. We’re going to activate this place and let people know that art is alive in Five Points and we’re going to keep the flame going,” said Futrell. “The goal is for some of these pieces to permanently live here.”
While the studio is closed to the public, neighbors will be able to see their creations through The Rossonian’s windows and see artists working on Wednesday and Thursday through the end of October.