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Union
Hall

Denver, Colorado

The Story

project type
  • Govt./Public Venue
  • Mixed Use
  • Residential
Region
  • Mountain West
Quick Facts:
  • Union Hall is a multi-use mini-museum and venue space located in the historic Union Station neighborhood, nestled on the ground level of the luxurious residential building, The Coloradan.

  • This 501(c)(3) non-profit exhibition space is built upon one of the country’s most innovative art and culture funding strategies, which utilizes a transfer fee from condominium sales to create resident benefit and neighborhood culture space.

  • The non-profit hall serves as a “cultural concierge” to the community, featuring emerging and established talent from local and national artists.

  • 1,700 square feet of flexible, multi-use space accommodating events such as film screenings in the intimate movie theater, artistic conversations, poetry readings and literary events, and rotating art exhibitions in the gallery layout.

  • Rolling temporary and permanent exhibitions are curated to foster ideas, challenge perspectives and cultivate unity in diversity by aligning with the venue’s three tenets: inclusivity, innovation, and impact.

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Union Hall is reimagining the way creatives share — and visitors experience — art in a rapidly developing downtown neighborhood. This art venue is the product of a purposeful partnership between NINE dot ARTS and the East West Partners development group. Located on the ground floor of The Coloradan, a condominium development situated just steps from Union Station, Union Hall fills a growing need for accessible exhibition space in the city’s center.

Though both East West Partners and NINE dot ARTS have spent years supporting the local creative community in distinct yet impactful ways, the vision for and co-creation of Union Hall represents something entirely new. East West conceptualized the idea of including cultural activation within The Coloradan, recognizing an opportunity to create a flexible arts space for the neighborhood, engaging with NINE dot ARTS to drive this project forward, spearheading a community-wide effort to survey artists and creatives and assess their needs.

Union Hall was then created with the mission of advancing opportunities for diverse, emerging artists and showcasing groundbreaking exhibitions in the Union Station neighborhood, while also being a multi-purpose, flexible space that welcomes interdisciplinary events of all kinds. The thread throughout all of Union Hall’s programming lies in its three focus areas: Innovation, Inclusivity, and Impact.

 Innovation:

 As the first dedicated and permanent non-commercial, non-collecting exhibition space integrated into a private real estate development in Denver, Union Hall represents a new way to experience arts and culture in Denver. Union Hall is funded by a one-half of one percent (.05%) transfer assessment on all condominium sales at The Coloradan. While the transfer assessment is not Union Hall’s sole source of funding, this model, which was first introduced by East West Partners in the Vail Valley more than two decades ago, creates a broad base of funders, delivers a sustainable 501 (c)(3) organization that encourages community involvement and has contributed $4.5 million to support arts and culture in Colorado.

Union Hall is also innovative in its approach to programming, featuring experimental exhibitions, with a wide array of mediums and thematic focus areas. Previous programming at Union Hall has included exhibitions like Desert of the Real, a fashion-focused exhibition from Denver-based Mars in Scorpio, which bridges the gap between fashion and fine art. Another recent exhibition, Poems for our Country, commissioned artworks from a collection of artists asked to create a banner containing a message for the year to come. From environmental activism to calls for love, connection, and growth; each artwork was as layered in meaning as the artists were in experience.

Inclusivity:

Union Hall is an inclusive and accessible space, with free exhibitions and a focus on free and publicly accessible events like guided meditations, poetry readings, live performances, and panel discussions, welcoming individuals of all backgrounds to participate. Union Hall is also centrally located in Downtown Denver, right next to Union Station, making it accessible by car, bike, foot, and public transportation to any community member or traveler who would like to explore the space.

In addition, Union Hall makes an effort to showcase artists and creatives underrepresented in the community, who vary significantly in age, race, gender, sexual orientation, artistic expression, and medium, with over 60% of artists from previous programming being BIPOC or LGBTQIA+.

Impact:

Union Hall also aims to be a true partner to all venues for arts and culture throughout the city by serving as a “Culture Concierge.” The program fosters engagement in Denver’s robust cultural ecosystem by providing locals and visitors with information and recommendations on creative and cultural events around the city. With a weekly newsletter, as well as social media, Union Hall features out-of-the-box and under-the-radar art events in and around Denver. Overall, Union Hall has shown the many ways that art can energize a city and create a sense of place. It also serves as a shining example of how innovative, inclusive, and impactful art space can do more than survive in a private real estate development setting, it can thrive. Being a centrally-located cultural space and resource in the Denver Metro area, Union Hall also certainly advances tourism, drives engagement, and bolsters economic development for the city. In Downtown Denver there are considerably few new arts and culture spaces, preserving the cultural richness of the community and with Union Hall being uniquely placed right next to Union Station, it offers exhibitions, events, and performances, which are centrally located and accessible to individuals from all backgrounds, helping stimulate the local economy. In addition, Union Hall supports local artists and creatives, providing fair and equitable wages and a platform to feature their work.

Past exhibits include the “Spirit of the Flame,” a sculptural collaboration between Denver-based artist Carissa Samaniego and Matthew Smith; the “Desert on the Real,” a fashion to fine art demonstration from photographer Alexander Ablola of Denver’s Mars in Scorpio; and collaborative installation, “Rough Gems,” which was a rotating exhibition of pieces stewarded and originated by emerging and established artistic talent. The “Rough Gems” series ran from January to May 2020 and consisted of three pop-up exhibits: “Literally Behind,” “NEUwave” and “There really is no difference between art and prayer.” “Rough Gems is set to become a signature exhibition held annually at Union Hall, delivering on the space’s mission to lead the way in creating a sustainable impact on the local creative economy, and building strength in creative culture.

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Nine dot Arts

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Martha Weidmann

Martha Weidmann

CEO & Co-Founder