Pueblo Arts Alliance

Pueblo, CO


The owner of The Colorado Building, a then-vacant downtown brick structure  built in 1929 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places that originally housed a department store, office space, and a large vaudeville theater, approached the newly formed Pueblo Arts Alliance with an offer to donate the theater space to the group. Though excited at the prospect, the Alliance was not a theater producer and struggled to envision what could be done with the space. At a board retreat, the organization arrived at a vision of creating an anchor creative space in Pueblo that supported artists but also partially self-funded its operations. Without expertise in this arena, the nascent Alliance needed help understanding artist workspace and the process of putting together a real estate project.


  • Determine the feasibility of an affordable mixed-use project that could combine: affordable live/work space, artist studio-only space, complementary commercial spaces, and/or performance space in a historic building in Pueblo.

Scope of work:

Susan Fries, then the Alliance’s Executive Director, learned of Artspace through press coverage of another of our projects in Colorado. She wrote a grant to the National Endowment for the Arts to bring Artspace to Pueblo for a Preliminary Feasibility Study.

Artspace's staff travelled to Pueblo to conduct a Preliminary Feasibility Study. In addition to touring The Colorado Building and several other historic buildings that were potential sites for artist space, they conducted focus groups with local stakeholders and engaged with the Alliance Board around financial models and potential next steps.


Ultimately, the scale of the opportunities presented by The Colorado Building and the other sites examined by Artspace were too large for the fledging Alliance to undertake, but the engagement with Artspace laid the groundwork for continued conversations around creative spaces in Pueblo. In the years following our Preliminary Feasibility Study, through a series of small grants, the Alliance was able to conduct a private market survey, a design charrette with local artists, and tour basically every historic building in Pueblo. In 2012, the Pueblo Creative Corridor became a state certified creative district, managed by the Alliance, which gave the group access to the State of Colorado Creative District Community Loan Fund. With this state and other private support, the Alliance purchased a recently renovated, 12,000 square foot, two-building complex with outdoor plaza in 2015, which within six months was fully leased with 20 studio spaces for forty working artists.

Though the final product of the Alliance Studios did not include The Colorado Building nor involve Artspace in the development, Fries credits Artspace at least in part with building momentum in Pueblo and helping the Alliance, and other stakeholders, understand what it would take to realize a project like this. 

“Projects centered around the arts and community are transformative...The work that Artspace does is selfless, and really focused on the community and what that community needs.” - Susan Fries, Executive Director of the Pueblo Art Alliance

Visit Pueblo Arts Alliance Studios Website: https://www.puebloarts.org