2012 Mayor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts: Denver's Art District on Santa Fe

Via cpr.org
But at the ADSF, First Friday always comes first.

First Friday has been celebrated through various sites in the city over the past few decades, and there are still several versions around town. But in 2002 First Friday found a home on Santa Fe -- and the event snowballed. In the beginning, Santa Fe's First Friday "had two galleries and about twenty people who showed up," Pappalardo remembers, but "within two to three years it was already up to about 2,500 people. Now, in the summer, we typically get anywhere between 5,000 and 8,000 people who show up."

Rain or shine -- and knowing Colorado, probably a little bit of both mixed with some snow to boot -- the ADSF's First Friday takes place on the first Friday of every month throughout the year. Truth be told, Pappalardo admits, "First Friday is probably what initially put the District on the map."

And when cities such as Cleveland, Sacramento and Glendale, Arizona, call to ask how to grown an arts district as successful as the ADSF, Pappalardo advises them one thing above all else: attitude.

"We're extremely welcoming," Pappalardo says. "We're friendly. We're not pretentious. We genuinely like each other. I think people who come down here feel that. A lot of people who are generally very intimidated by traditional galleries feel more welcome down here."

This amiable attitude paid off in 2012. Earlier in the year, Governor John Hickenlooper awarded the ADSF a $15,000 grant when it was named one of the initial Colorado Creative Districts (the other was Downtown Salida), "one of the most affordable, efficient ways to promote art from all over Colorado," Pappalardo says.

Now the ADSF has collected another prestigious title. The 2012 Mayor's Award for Excellence in the Arts is an honor that Pappalardo says he and the rest of the ADSF are "thrilled to be recognized for," especially after "being in the trenches and working on creating something every day for ten years."

Here's to ten very good years, and many more to come for the ADSF.

Now, about those sidewalks....

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Kokopelli's - CLOSED

2233 Larimer St., Denver, CO

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Ellie Caulkins Opera House

Denver Performing Arts Complex, Denver, CO

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