Denver Theatre District Launches Understudy, an Arts Incubator

understudy

DJ Cavem works on his vegetable beat-making installation. Courtesy Denver Theatre District

Bringing a fresh perspective to artistic creativity, the Denver Theatre District recently launched Understudy, an experimental art and culture incubator in a 700-square-foot space in the Colorado Convention Center. This re-invented corner of downtown will host a monthly cycle of various creative works through September 2019, with installations including a fresh pop-up juice bar, a pop-up record store and an original-art-vending kiosk (through Dec. 24). Workshops are also held at the space—such as vegetable beat-making by DJ Cavem Moetavation.

David Moke, a curator of the project, David Moke, gave us more insight into this creative experience.

What exactly is Understudy?

 “Understudy is a unique art space funded by the nonprofit Denver Theatre District for local creatives to experiment with their different mediums. It’s a mixed-media space, as it will house the office of a dream delivery service along with other artists who rotate throughout the space monthly. This is a space for creatives—poets, musicians, artists, etc. It’s also super public, being at the corner of the Convention Center and light rail station off of 14th Street.

How do you become a guest artist?

“We don’t accept submissions right now for the space. Instead, we are the ones reaching out to creatives who we think are doing cool things. Understudy is curated by a team of three of us: myself, Annie Geimer and Thadeaous Mighell, who are all treating this space as a DIY space.”

Where did the idea and inspiration for Understudy come from?

“The Denver Theatre District receives all of their funding from revenue share collected from advertisements on LED signs in downtown. So we had all of this money and wanted to do something with it. Two years ago our board wanted to see us do more installation stuff. We saw this corner office that was sitting empty for a while and we approached the city a year ago for the space. We have been working on creating this space ever since.”

How do you see the community interacting with this new space?

“I think it all depends on how the artists want to interact with the space. The artist can utilize the fishbowl side where people can watch what the artist is working on inside. Other times the artist can have open hours. It’s at a great location for a lot of people to see what’s going on. I just want people to think about how these creative spaces can be anywhere and how our city has such vibrancy. I hope this gets people to be more creative and that ideas that start here [at Understudy] can have

“I just want people to think about how these creative spaces can be anywhere and how our city has such vibrancy. I hope this gets people to be more creative and that ideas that start here (at Understudy) can have life elsewhere.”

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