Denver ArtPark Library Embodies the Confluence of Creativity and Community

In February 2021, Denver City Council announced the Denver ArtPark campus in RiNo. As a city building restoration project, the creation of ArtPark features four community partners: RedLine Contemporary Art Center, CoCuA, RiNo Art District and Denver Public Library. The ArtPark campus holds art studios, a gallery, a food incubator and green space.

READ: A Closer Look at RiNo’s Incoming ArtPark Community Hub

Alongside space for creatives and entrepreneurs, Art Park features a new Denver Public Library branch. The 27th DPL branch serves the RiNo and Five Points neighborhoods. Several DPL branches have unique programmatic offerings, including research centers and 3-D printing labs. Stemming from DPL’s commitment to community enhancement comes a collaborative library branch unlike one Denver’s seen before. ArtPark Library plans to serve as a cultural center for creatives, entrepreneurs and community members.

ArtPark Library Design

Denver Public Library, Monica Lozano, RedLine Contemporary Art Center, CoCuA, Ellie Sullum

Photo courtesy of Tres Birds

Denver ArtPark spans 35th and Arkins. The campus is an explosion of green space and mural art against an industrial backdrop. Designed by Tres Birds architect Shawn Mather and principal Mike Moore, the 7,000 square foot library embraces open space. 

On the creative end, the library has gallery space and eight studios in partnership with RedLine Contemporary Art Center. Library essentials, including a literature collection and programming rooms, make up the rest of the space. Community members of all ages are likely to find a meaningful resource or program to engage with and enjoy the vast open green area. The library’s green space is perfect for reading, sketching, sitting with friends and outdoor programming.

“I am really excited about the partnership between RedLine, CoCuA, RiNo Art District and DPL. We all have similar values in the sense that we want to connect the community and strengthen the community by providing exposure to a gallery space, local artists, culinary arts and educational/literacy resources,” said Mónica Lozano, ArtPark branch’s senior librarian. “I hope to create a cultural hub at the branch for all community members to gather, connect and learn from each other. I love the idea of connecting people that may not have otherwise engaged in conversation through library services or community partnerships.”

Community in RiNo/Five Points

Monica Lozano, Tres Birds, RedLine Contemporary Art Center, CoCuA, Denver Public Library, Ellie Sullum

Photo courtesy of Tres Birds

All of DPL’s branches work to facilitate community, yet ArtPark branch takes on a new approach through its design and community partnerships. At their core, libraries function as community hubs. Library resources spark opportunities for education, creativity and connection. By providing studio and gallery space alongside an open green area and a library collection, ArtPark Library poises itself to foster a creative hub for all community members without a barrier to entry. Folks of all ages will have opportunities to learn, engage and embrace creativity through any number of ArtPark’s offerings. Activities such as reading, spending time in green spaces and engaging with art are all linked to stronger health outcomes. Thus, ArtPark Library is likely to boost neighborhood wellness on the individual and collective levels.

“To our knowledge, we are the first public library in the country to engage in this kind of partnership. The mission of Denver Public Library is to create welcoming spaces where all are free to explore and connect and the partnership that allowed for this new branch location is very reflective of that mission,” said Lozano.

Collaboration & Programming

Tres Birds, Monica Lozano, Denver Public Library, Five Points, Redline Contemporary Art Center, Ellie Sullum

Photo courtesy of Tres Birds

A core intention for all ArtPark partners is collaboration. ArtPark Library, RedLine, CoCuA and RiNo Art District all entered the ArtPark process to foster opportunities for vibrant collaboration and programming. 

“We hope to have programming similar to our other branches. We would like to host programming that meets the needs of the community,” said Lozano.

Currently, Denver ArtPark library working to name the branch through community submission. The library’s Naming Community Committee and our Library Commission is accepting submissions. You can read the submission guidelines on DPL’s website. 

Denver ArtPark Library Branch is set to open in early 2022.