Space to Create Colorado

Driving Economic Development in Rural & Mountain Communities Through the Arts

Inspired by the Artspace Loveland Arts Campus, the State of Colorado spearheaded Space to Create Colorado, a multi-agency, public-private partnership to drive economic development through the arts in rural and mountain communities. Governor Hickenlooper announced the $45 million program, which is the nation’s first state-driven initiative for affordable housing for artists and creatives. Planned to span eight regions across all of Colorado, one town in each will receive an arts facility, with Artspace involved as the lead nonprofit consultant and development partner. Additional partners include Colorado Creative Industries and the Department of Local Affairs. Private funders are also contributing, with the visionary Boettcher Foundation taking the lead by investing $250,000 per project, adding up to a $2 million commitment.


To kickoff Space to Create, Artspace and partners broke ground on a demonstration project in Trinidad. Eight Space to Create projects will follow, with towns to be selected for projects via a competitive, state-wide process. Ridgway and Paonia will next receive an arts facility, with six more to be determined.

We were captivated by Artspace’s model of combining housing for artists with community arts space. We approached Artspace about adapting its model to rural communities because we saw an opportunity to help rural Colorado towns revive their main streets while tackling issues of affordable housing.

Tim Schultz, Boettcher Foundation

Artists, artisans and creative enterprises are the heart and soul of Colorado communities. Creative people not only inspire us with their work, they are brilliant community problem solvers. Creative industries represent 4.2% of GDP and are an economic development strategy for rural communities to diversify and grow the state economy. 

Margaret Hunt, Colorado Creative Industries