Space to Create Ridgway

Ridgway, Colorado, Colorado Creative Industries, Ridgway Creative District logos

What is Space to Create Colorado? 

Space to Create Colorado is a collaborative effort of multiple organizations to provide affordable workforce housing and working spaces for creative sector entrepreneurs and artists in rural, small town and mountain communities in Colorado. On July 28, 2015, Governor John Hickenlooper announced the first state-driven initiative in the U.S. for affordable housing for artists. Space to Create Colorado will advance mixed-use projects that blend affordable live/work space for artists and their families with non- residential space for creative enterprises and organizations that serve a critical community need.

Nine new projects will be initiated in eight regions of the state by 2019. The first Demonstration Project will take place in Trinidad. Ridgway was selected as the next community in the Southwestern Colorado region. Future sites will be determined through a competitive process.

Space to Create Colorado is directed by a steering committee comprised of invested partners. Artspace provides market, feasibility, and pre-development consulting services on behalf of Space to Create Colorado. Each of the projects will be customized to meet community needs for workforce housing and commercial space for creative sector entrepreneurs, artists, and arts-friendly organizations.


Ridgway Space to Create Arts Market Study Recommendations and Technical Report (September 2017) 
Space to Create Ridgway Preliminary Feasibility Report  (December 2016) 

2018 Fact Sheet (January) 
2017 Fact Sheet (June) 

2017 Fact Sheet  (January) (Feasibility Study, Arts Market Survey, FAQ.) 
Space to Create Answers Your Questions (videos) 

Who are the Partners and Collaborators? 

Led by Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade in partnership with Artspace, the Boettcher Foundation, Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), and History Colorado, this collaborative effort will assist Colorado communities in accessing state, federal, and local government resources, and include private sector and philanthropic support. (

Who is Artspace? 

 Artspace is the nation’s leader in artist-led community transformation, with more than 35 projects in operation
across the country and another dozen in development, representing a unique $600 million investment
in America’s arts infrastructure. With headquarters in Minneapolis and offices in Los
 Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and Washington D.C., Artspace is America’s leading developer of
arts facilities and has served as a consultant to hundreds of communities and arts organizations nationwide. To date, Artspace has completed nearly 2,000 affordable live/work units for artists and their families
as well as more than a million square feet of non-residential space for artists and arts organizations. (

What are the Goals? 

This initiative will stimulate community and economic development in rural, small town and mountain communities by providing long-term affordable and financially sustainable workforce housing and working spaces for creative sector employment. Nine projects initiated across Colorado by 2019 will culminate in roughly $45 million of investment statewide by multiple partners and agencies in direct capital investment.

What is the Definition of "Rural, Small Town & Mountain Communities?" 

Communities with less than 50,000 population and geographically distant from urban areas.

What is the Definition of "Artist and Creative Sector Workers?" 

Per CCI, the creative sector in Colorado includes things that are created in the human mind, made by hand or custom designed, and where art takes place, including such occupations as:

Actors, architects, audio and video technicians, art directors, book binding, painters, musicians, singers, song writers, music directors and composers, musical instrument designers and manufacturers, authors and writers, illustrators, publishers photographers, dancers, choreographers, sculptors, advertising and promotions, editors, commercial and industrial designers, sound engineers, interior designers, apparel and fashion designers and manufacturing, set and exhibit designers, reporters and correspondents, museum curators, technicians and conservators, film, television and video script writers and producers, camera operators, broadcast technicians, culinary arts, craftsmen, craft distillers and brewers, sign makers, public relations specialists, multi-media artists and animators, theaters, performance venues, museums, libraries, studios and galleries.

According to Artspace, an a person who has a commitment to and/or participation in the arts, not simply as a hobby. This does not mean that the art the artist creates generates any or all of the artist’s source of income.

An artist shall be defined as:

  •  A person who works in or is skilled in any of the fine arts, including but not limited to painting, drawing, sculpture, book art, mixed-media and print-making.
  • A person who creates imaginative works of aesthetic value, including but not limited to film, video, digital media works, literature, costume design, photography, architecture and music composition.
  •  A person who creates functional art, including but not limited to jewelry, rugs, decorative screens and grates, furniture, pottery, toys and quilts.
  •  A performer, including but not limited to singers, musicians, dancers, actors and performance artists. In all culturally significant practices, including a designer, technician, tattoo artist, hairdresser, chef/culinary artist, craftsperson, teacher or administrator who is dedicated to using their expertise within the community to support, promote, present, and/or teach and propagate their art form through events, activities, performances and classes.
  • Artistic processes that are extremely noisy, require incompatible zoning or involve hazardous materials are typically not permitted. All uses must comply with applicable code. (

How Was Ridgway Selected? 

After discussion with and approval by the Town Council and Town Planning Commission and two public meetings, the Town submitted an initial application to CCI in February 2016. Ridgway was then selected to complete and submit the full Space to Create application in April 2016. A public meeting with 30 attendees set the goals included in this second application. On August 23, 2016, Space to Create Colorado announced that Ridgway had been selected as the Space to Create community for Southwest Colorado. Partners in Space to Create Ridgway are Telluride Foundation, Region 10, Ouray County Housing Authority, San Miguel Power Association, Weehawken Creative Arts and the Ridgway Chautauqua Society.

What Has Taken Place Since Ridgway's Selection? 

At the end of September, Artspace staff met with more than 100 members of the community and the region in focus groups, representing Creatives, creative enterprises, arts and culture organizations, civic and nonprofit leaders, and the finance sector. A preliminary feasibility study report will be published by early November. In early 2017, an Arts Market Survey will go live. All Creatives and creative enterprises in our region will be invited to respond to this survey. (Send your email addresses to participate!) The information gathered will be critical to the next phases of the project.

For more information, contact Diedra Silbert, Community Initiatives Facilitator, Town of Ridgway: or 970-626-5308 x. 215