| Follow Us:

Art District on Santa Fe : Innovation & Job News

23 Art District on Santa Fe Articles | Page: | Show All

Access Gallery launches 2017 with "Stick 'em up Chuck"

Access Gallery in the Art District on Santa Fe is aimed at helping those with disabilities experience art, including by making art. Its latest gallery show, "Stick 'em up Chuck," which opens Jan. 6 and runs through Feb. 3, is a prime example of accessible art by using stickers as the medium.

The works were inspired street artists and Gonkar Gyatso, a contemporary Tibetan artist, whose work uses both Buddhist iconography and pop images like colorful children's stickers.

"We wanted to see what we could really do with everyday objects that need little if any artistic talent," explains Access Gallery Director Damon McLeese. "We have a smiley face piece made of 10,000 smiley face stickers, a huge teddy bear, a fish and a car based on one of our ArtWorks artist drawings."

The exhibit is the culmination of the VSA Colorado and Access Gallery's fall residency programs in which the participants explored mediums that are highly accessible materials for those with significant physical and mental disabilities. They focused on materials that are inexpensive, easily transported and workable as well as sticky, tacky and tactile. Stickers, they found, met those needs.

"One of our volunteers hooked us up with a bevy of stickers and we decided to make an entire gallery show made of stickers," McLeese says. Longmont, Colorado-based StickerGiant provided the bulk of raw materials for the show.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Denver proposes dedicated fund for affordable housing

On July 13, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Councilwoman Robin Kniech introduced the details of the city's plan to create funding to support affordable housing.

Pending approval by Denver City Council, the funding will be generated by way of development fees and property taxes. Over the next 10 years, the new funding stream could generate $150 million, allowing for the construction of 6,000 new homes for low- to moderate-income families in the city and catalyze thousands of jobs in the process.

"There is no more important a priority in Denver right now than affordable housing," Mayor Hancock said. "In my state of the city speech yesterday, I spoke about the thousands of people who lack the simple advantages so many of us take for granted, like a place to call home. Home ownership gives families a foundation to build equity, build wealth and build a life. This is a fair, balanced and modest approach to address one of the most pressing problems facing Denver today."

The proposal from the mayor's office are expected to cost residential property owners $1 a month and commercial property owners $145 annually for every $1 million worth of commercial valuation. It also would establish a one-time development fee on new construction projects collected when a project receives its building permit. Residential construction fees for single-family homes will carry a 60 cent per square foot fee and multi-family homes will carry a $1.50 per square foot fee. Industrial projects will pay a 40 cents per square foot fee and retail, hotel and other commercial development will pay a $1.70 per square foot fee.

"By pairing a small portion of the property tax revenue that Denver voters approved almost four years ago with what would be one of the lowest one-time fees on new residential and commercial development in the nation, our broader community will be coming together with a sector of the economy generating some of the demand to create a bold solution for affordable housing in Denver," Kniech contended.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Denver launches civic innovation accelerator

Colorado's municipal governments -- as many across the country -- remain cash-strapped, there's a need to make more out of less, harnessing the power of entrepreneurs and innovators to find low-cost solutions to civic issues and needs. That's where the Governmental Entrepreneurship Leadership Accelerator enters the picture.

The accelerator, a partnership of the City and County of Denver, Silicon Flatirons, University of Colorado Law School Dean Phil Weiser and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, gave five law students a chance to work with nine Denver employees to address civic issues over a 12-week fellowship. The fellowship will conclude July 21 with a pitch fest attended by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock at Galvanize.

"To our knowledge, no other city or government has collaborated with a university for an accelerator program like this one before," says Courtney Law, communications director with the city's Department of Finance.

The pilot program will build on Blackstone's other work to support startups through its Blackstone LaunchPad and Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network. Its charitable arm, through the foundation has committed more than $40 million to such efforts since 2010.

Participants will work to address homeless transportation solutions, developing a retail regulatory framework, providing Internet access for low income individuals and increasing access to composting services. They'll be joined by mentors and guest speakers locally and from across the country to learn about and test entrepreneurial solutions to civic problems.

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is supporting the pilot with a $75,000 grant. Silicon Flatirons will use the grant to run the pilot program.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.


The Whole Works takes The Wright award for 2015

On Oct. 20, SPACE Gallery hosted the annual Wright awards from Something Independent celebrating the intersection of lifestyle and leadership. The Whole Works won the 2015 Wright and the $5,000 award that came with it.

The annual event, organized by Denver's Something Independent, focuses on identifying companies that are exhibiting leadership at the intersection of lifestyle and commerce. The Whole Works, a new clothing production facility in Rifle, won the award this year. The company works with customers, including Colorado's Voormi, to produce products as needed.

"As one of the first public benefit corporations in the state, we are focused on making a social impact by partnering with a job preparation program that teaches production sewing to women who are transitioning from federal assistance," the company said in a statement.

Thanks to its operating model, the company said it is able to promise shorter turnaround times on projects and produce smaller volumes of orders. It's a selling point as more companies are looking to re-shore manufacturing in the U.S.

This year's other finalists for The Wright were ReActive Adaptations, which makes off-road handcycles and downhill machines and The Public Works, a Denver-based design, fabrication and multimedia marketing firm.

The event had fully 125 applicants in 2015. Judges winnowed the number down to 10, then three and finally chose the winner.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.


Loyalty-tech provider FiveStars adding 100 jobs in Denver

Customer loyalty company FiveStars Loyalty announced that its second office will be in Denver where it plans to hire more than 100 people -- primarily in sales -- by the end of 2015. The company develops customer loyalty programs for small and medium-sized businesses, among them Denver-based companies like Lodo's Bar & Grill, Stoney's, and GB Fish & Chips.

The news comes following an announcement that San Francisco-based FiveStars raised $26 million in Series financing. The financing round, led by Menlo Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and DCM, will help the company essentially double its staff to 300 employees as it strives to provide services to its more than 7,000 clients.

"We are thrilled that FiveStars has chosen Colorado to expand its operations and create new jobs in the high-tech industry," said Gov. John Hickenlooper. "Not only is FiveStars creating jobs here, they are also providing a platform for local businesses to develop customer loyalty programs that were once only accessible to large corporations, allowing small businesses to compete on a large business scale.

In Denver, the company has leased 10,000 square feet of office space at Battery621. “We evaluated over a dozen cities and by the end it was a no-brainer -- no other city offered what Denver had,” said Victor Ho, CEO and Co-Founder of FiveStars. "We wanted to pick a location where employees would have an excellent quality of life and we're ecstatic that we found our second home in Colorado."

"The FiveStars announcement further demonstrates that Denver is quickly becoming the small business and startup capital of the country," said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

The company looked at locating in other cities, including Austin and Seattle, but ultimately chose Denver. In making its decision, the company sited state and city tax incentives offered to attract tech companies.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

DSTILL grows with craft distillery movement

There are now more than 70 licensed distillers in Colorado, including such Denver standouts as Laws Whiskey House to Leopold Bros. DSTILL, an annual celebration of craft spirits in Denver in its third year, is mirroring the industry's growth.

"DSTILL is a platform that brings people together," says Chuck Sullivan of Something Independent, founder of the week-long event. "The heart and soul of the programming is with with the craft-distilling community both in Colorado and nationally." 

In 2015, the April 16 showcase, where 49 craft distillers participating from across the country poured tastes of their spirits, was the most popular event, drawing more than 1,000 people.

"It is distillers and bartenders and those craft spirit enthusiasts from every on point on the compass. I think there is a great opportunity throughout the week for distillers to connect in a lot of different ways both with consumer and industry," Sullivan adds.

This year's event expanded to include a DSTILL Rocks, a music event at the Bluebird Theater with Nathaniel Rateliff and Paper Bird, as well as what Sullivan calls pop-up bars showcasing spirits at Union Station. Both of which were new events for the multiday event.

"It's safe to say the DSTILL Rocks Concert will become a main staple event of DSTILL each year," Sullivan says. He explains that all of the ticketed events of the conference were sold out this year. "That is indicative of the story of DSTILL and how it has evolved to be a serious celebration of the American craft spirit."

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Duby cannabis app gains more than 1,000 downloads first week

There's no doubt that cannabis is becoming more popular everyday. This means entrepreneurs are reaching out to engage this community of enthusiasts in new ways. Case in point: Duby, a new app that launched on Apple's App Store this week.

How popular is pot? Well, the app has already seen more than 1,000 downloads this week despite no advertising.

"Cannabis is one of the top themes on social media, yet most social media outlets restrict marijuana-related posts. Duby is a viral social network that allows the cannabis community to discover the latest marijuana trends and conversations," says Duby co-founder Alec Rochford.

The app, made by Art District on Santa Fe-based developers, is designed to allow users to post messages, pictures and videos anonymously but also allows them to track how far their post goes. To use the company's parlance, users can pass a Duby on or put it out.

The app also is location-based, which does two things, ensures the app is only used in places where medical or recreational marijuana is legal and let users see where their Dubys are lighting up, so to speak. "The concept is not to collect friends, but to increase your influence by posting content that is passed around among users," the company touts.

The creators also said that privacy is paramount to the app. "Users are ensured complete anonymity through the use of location obfuscation, input sanitation, explicit protection of personally identifiable information and the inability to privately message other users," the company says.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Jiberish gets technical with Grand Cru outerwear line

Denver's Jiberish has entered into a new market for the urban/extreme-skiing garment startup company—technical outerwear. Earlier this fall the company introduced its Grand Cru line.

The new line starts at $275 for The Corton, an extended-length, insulated shirt that's also comes as a button-out layer for the company's $850 flagship coat, The La Tache. The line of five coats embodies a look that's home in the city and on the slopes.

For  example,The La Tache is a waterproof, 3-in-1 jacket that can be worn with The Corton or each piece separately. The company calls it "a clean, minimalist jacket with no zippers visible on the exterior." It's easy to see how Jiberish is trying to balance function with fashion. 

The company, which formerly produced its clothes in Denver, has moved production overseas. That's particularly important as the company moves into more technical clothing as most garment manufacturers in the U.S. can handle basic manufacturing but much of the more technical manufacturing processes and fabrics are harder to find domestically. The company sources technical fabrics from Switzerland, Japan and elsewhere.

The new line is already available online and is making its way into some of Jiberish's retail partners as well as its own stores in Boston, Denver and Park City, Utah.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Denver's COjacks offer alternative currency for gifts

COjacks, the Denver-based, Colorado-centric currency that launched late this summer, will be accepted along with U.S currency at the Community Connect Trade Association and Main Street Chamber of West Denver's Holiday Trade Show and Event at SPACE Gallery at 400 Santa Fe Dr. on Thurs. Nov. 20 from 4 to 8 p.m.

"The event is about 50 percent trade and 50 percent cash," explains Jaime Cangemi, chief marketing officer for the Main Street Chamber in Denver. Cangemi says she expects about 50 vendors and 500 buyers.

Instead of being confined to cash, however, the event allows people to barter or trade for locally made goods. It's also an ideal opportunity for an alternative currency like COjacks. "Their hope is for us to roll it out to the Community Connect Trade members there," Cangemi says.

Consumers can get COjacks at an introductory rate of five for $4. The retailers that accept COjacks, among them Backstage Coffee and The GrowHaus accept them at a rate equivalent to a dollar.

"It's all about the independent businesses," Cangemi explains. "The concept is if you were a retail shop and I bought something with COjacks and you then have COjacks in possession you cannot come back to the COjacks office to trade it for cash so you'll go out and find a member of COjacks you can spend it with. That's where the dollar going further makes sense."

Pro-level businesses that accept COjacks for 30 percent or more of a customer's purchase can receive three COjacks for every $1 they choose to exchange for COjacks. Businesses that accept 10 percent of a sale in COjacks can exchange $1 for two COjacks. Since they can't trade them back for U.S. dollars, the accepting retailers must spend them with other participating retailers.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Find local breweries and more with CraftedHere

Want to find the nearest or newest brewery or marijuana dispensary in Colorado? Check out Denver-based Craft Boom's recently launched app, CraftedHere.

The app is available on Apple and Android devices and the information also is available via craftedhere.us.

Craft Boom CEO Chase Doelling explains that the company launched the app about a month ago and are now starting to bring attention to it after a softer launch.

"What we're hoping to capitalize on now is cannabis tourism," Doelling says. "As people come in they're mainly focussed on trying cannabis because its legal. But there are all these breweries here and all this here and you can capture all the side markets. People might not know what's around the corner from them outside of just landing in downtown and wandering close to the center of the city."

Currently the app and site cover five categories of Colorado-friendly crafts: breweries, cannabis shops, coffee shops, distilleries and wineries. Doelling says the information is populated from state records and actual experiences. Information for each brewery includes information about their awards at the Great American Beer Festival. However, instead of customer reviews, the app uses badges to rate the sites.

Also, the map-based app can show users what's nearby. "So if you're in a brewery it will tell you what's the nearest coffee shop, the closest park and going down the list," Doelling says. In the future, the Craft Boom team could cover restaurants and other points of crafty interest, he adds.

At this point, the information is only available for Colorado and users can manually submit information about new breweries through email, but can't add them to the app or site. As the user base grows, Doelling hopes to expand it to more markets to the western U.S.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Gociety creates social network for outdoor activities

Gociety, which recently launched out of Denver, has a simple motto: "Meet People. Get Outside. Be Awesome."

"What we do is we create a platform for people to link up have access to resources with the overall goal of everyone just getting outside as much as they can," explains Jason Antin, Gociety's Director of Partnerships.

The website allows people to register for free and create a profile on the site, explaining what activities they're interested in as well as their skill level. Members can then create an event using dropdown menus to select the sport and required skill level.

Event creators or leaders can either ask other people to participate based on their profiles and skill level or leave the event open to everyone in the community. It's not meant to make an event exclusive -- when an event requires specialized skills like knowledge of avalanche safety for backcountry skiing, it can put everyones' lives at greater risk to have beginners along.

"We want to provide options to them to do anything from a causal two-mile run around Wash Park to a rim-to-rim-to-rim trip to the Grand Canyon -- from very beginner to anything you can wrap your head around," Antin says.

Gociety's site had its hard launch in January 2014. By the end of April it already had a quickly growing user base, according to Antin.

"2014 is a big year of building community," he says, noting that mobile apps are forthcoming but not yet available. The plan is to roll out the next phase in 2015 and "continue to build up this platform to be your outdoor portfolio," he explains.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Ticket Cricket offers an alternative to parking tickets

It seems Denver thrives on issuing parking tickets and infractions, after all when you’ve forgotten to pay off previous parking tickets -- after all, it’s not called the Oklahoma City Boot or the Big Apple Boot, it's the Denver Boot. But at least one local startup, Ticket Cricket, is trying to change that with a new app and perhaps a nicer way to avoid getting a ticket.

"What’s the purpose of the parking ticket?” asks Ticket Cricket Co-Founder and CEO Taylor Linnell. “If you get a ticket on your windshield two things happen: One, you have no idea you have a ticket, obviously you would have tried to pay your meter; or two, you got a ticket and now you’ve got no incentive to move your car. If the whole goal of parking tickets is to increase parking turnover, then actually issuing a parking ticket does the reverse of that."

“We want to give coverage to people when life gets away from them or the need goes a little longer than you thought, life’s just so busy and chaotic," Linnell adds. “It helps everyone involved. Why not find them a solution focussed on cooperation?" That’s where the Ticket Cricket app is trying to make headway in Denver and other cities.

The premise behind the app is the ability to extend the time a user can stay in a spot after the meter expires without receiving a ticket -- but still paying a fine -- for the time they need to get back to their vehicle and move it. For instance, a user could get 5 more minutes for $5 or 10 minutes for $10 -- still less than a $25 ticket but enough to make them want to move their vehicle before getting a full-fledged ticket. Linnell originally set up some ideal times and target prices but says the system needs to be flexible to allow different cities to implement it at the rates they deem appropriate.

The app works by communicating with parking patrollers and chirpers (users). When a user parks their vehicle they can log in, geotagging their vehicle. When a parking patroller nears a car owned by a chirper close to or after the time the chirper's time at the spot is up, the patroller is alerted and can push a request to the chirper to extend that time for a fee. The chirper can choose to pay to extend their time at the spot for a short time or get the ticket.

Taylor says he has an upcoming meeting with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock about the app and is in talks with other cities about implementing the Ticket Cricket system, but so far it hasn't been deployed. That said, the ad-supported app is already available for download at the iOS store.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Cameras rolling for One Day in Denver on April 26

What do you want to say about Denver? What do you want people to know about Denver and what’s great or not so great here? That’s the focus of One Day in Denver, the local version of One Day on Earth's latest project, encouraging people to go out and film their cities and focus on the issues they think are important.

The project, which is taking place in 11 U.S. cities from New York to Los Angeles, will ultimately result in a three-part television series that will air on CPT 12 PBS locally, explains Kristin Nolan, the local producer for project. Nolan also produces the Starz Denver Film Festival and other projects in the city.

Nolan anticipates that roughly 200 films will be submitted locally. Some of them will be raw footage while others will be edited. Ultimately, they’ll become part of the larger project. "They'll be culled through and pieces to help highlight storylines will be pulled out and really speak to the overarching themes behind the event, which are: Where are we now? What do we appreciate? Why do we live in cities? What are some of the issues that we face living in cities? What are some resolutions to those issues that we’re looking at? All of those items will be highlighted in that series across the three parts."

"All of the participants, filmmakers, organizations, individuals are creating pages within our website and it's very much a social website, an interactive geotagged website where everyone can say:, 'Hey, here's who I am, here's what I do. Here's how you can engage with my work and here's what I’m bringing to the table for One Day in Denver." The site also features an interactive map with links to the other participating cities.



It's been a changing experience for Nolan. "I've sensed Denver in a way that I never have before and learned so very much about organizations and the passions and individuals," she says. "Other people can have that experience as they move through the map."

Videos must be filmed on April 26 and submitted by May 26. "If someone wants to do an edited piece I’d recommend one to four minutes," Nolan says. "Something dynamic that's digestible." Those uploading raw footage can upload more than one piece, but each is limited to 500 megabytes.

You can register to participate in the project here. Nolan is hosting an event April 17 at SPACE Gallery at 400 Santa Fe Dr. from 5:30-7:30 p.m. to discuss the project and answer questions.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Auckland Outdoors sets out to become the Airbnb of camping gear

Want to go camping for a weekend but don't have the gear or don't know where to go? Check out the recently launched Auckland Outdoors. The company offers competitively priced rentals ($8 a day for backpack, sleeping bag and tent) but it’s also designed as a peer-to-peer rental site, kind of like the Airbnb or Couchsurfing version of the outdoors. It's likely the first company to offer such services for camping.

So if you're traveling to Denver -- or live in Denver -- you can check out what’s available to rent, not just from Auckland Outdoors, but also from others who have registered to offer their gear, be it a camp stove, disc golf set, snowshoes or gaiters from the company's site Outdoors.io. Already about 150 people -- mainly from Denver but also San Francisco and other cities -- have signed up to either offer their gear or to rent gear from the company and others on the site, says Founder Rob Auston.

"Ultimately our mission is to make it easier for people to have outdoor experiences," Auston explains. "Who we’re really targeting is kind of that person that moved out here for the lifestyle…and they quickly find out that if I go spend $2,000 on a road bike I'm now limited to the other opportunities I can do because I can't afford to buy the gear."

He adds, "Sometimes not just about the cost, it's about the space. Living downtown in a 500-square-foot space. I just don’t have the space for all my gear."

The core of the site is now focused around the gear. But Auston observes that there are other important components to the outdoor experience. "There’s the community piece: 'Who can I do this with?' And the discovery piece, you know: 'Where can I go camping?' But right now our focus is just on the foundational piece, let's get that right and let's try and unlock all this gear that sits idle in people's closets most of the year,” he says. "We're starting to build some features around community and discovery aspects."

Auckland Outdoors, named after Auston’s experience in New Zealand, also has a bunch of the basic gear available for rental. "Eddie Bauer gave us $10,000 in camping gear. So we've got tents, sleeping bags, backpacks all ready for people to rent," he says. At this point all of that gear is still virgin -- after all, camping season in Colorado doesn't really get underway until May.

Whether you're a renter or a gear junky who wants to rent out gear when you’re not using it, you can register at the site for free. If you've got gear to rent, Auston says the process is pretty easy. "You can take a picture of whatever the gear is and put in the price you want and add a description," he explains. The gear owner can accept or reject requests and can set up a meeting place. Transactions are handled through Auckland Outdoors, which takes a 15 percent transaction fee.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Caveman Cafeteria evolves Paleo dieting

Caveman Cafeteria has neither a cave or a physical cafeteria, yet this Denver-based Paleo-food service has already evolved significantly. The company, which provides catering services, has gone from a food truck in 2012 to a spot on the the 16th Street Mall to a mail-order delivery food service. It might just be the first business to offer shipped meals adhering to the popular Paleo diet.

"We're going to be the first company that’s going to really introduce people to what I consider a simplified healthy lifestyle that I don’t think that a lot of people have really quite grasped," says Founder Will White.

The company began shipping its prepared meals in January 2014 via FedEx. Already they have more than 200 clients across 12 states. Local customers can pick up their meals at a number of CrossFit or other locations in Boulder, Denver and Littleton.

White started Caveman Cafeteria after leaving the Army. "We are basically expanding this model here in Denver for our national headquarters,” he says. This year, among other places, he plans to move into the California market.

White was already in Colorado when he left the Army and decided it was the ideal location to start a food company. "I loved the city," he says. "I knew I would love living here. Then also there's just the track record of so many successful startups and especially food brand startups coming out of Denver that I felt that there’s just got to be something right here."

The company has been growing and hiring. "We just hired a part-time delivery driver," White says. That's in addition to a full-time chef they hired about four months ago. In all, the company has about five full-time employees and three part-time employees now and White says they're likely to hire about five more employees in the coming months.

The company's meal plans start at $549 for 10 meals a week over four weeks (40 total) with a recurring payment system. For that customers get delicious, Paleo-inspiried meals. "Our philosophy's really simple," White explains. "We just basically do everything Paleo by default in the sense that there's no processed oils ever, no added sugars and there's no grain in anything. That's kind of the main thrust of Paleo right there -- those three things."

The growth of the meal plan business has pulled away from its catering business, White says. Still they cater at offices, weddings and other special events like Paleo food and nutrition seminars. "Since we started out with the meal service, we're more selective with that now but we still love to do our catering which is $25 per person for office catering."

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.
23 Art District on Santa Fe Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts