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Most tragic venue closure

Photo // Sarai Nissan

DENVER SHUTS DOWN DIY VENUES IN RINO

This past year Denver and other cities have faced the repercussions of the overwhelming epidemic of gentrification. The River North area of Denver (RiNo) housed two of Denver’s DIY music and art venues: Rhinoceropolis (Rhino) and GLOB. The aftermath of a tragic fire at a DIY venue in California called Ghost Ship, coupled with Colorado’s rapidly gentrified neighborhoods, did not help these safe havens.

These DIY spaces had been hosting various artists and musicians for over 11 years. They operated as studios and homes for inventive local artists and have had the capacity to influence nearly every person to pass through their walls. Rhino’s and GLOB’s open doors signified an opportunity for people to brave the expanding gentrifying developments of the surrounding neighborhoods to create art in an idiosyncratic space.

The consequences that gentrification pose are the destruction of the liberties for artists and their audiences to create an intimate connection—and remain connected—in a way that is not easy to find in the typical music scene. Since the displacement of these cherished spaces, multiple events, and GoFundMe accounts have popped up to create awareness and raise money  to bring these spaces back.

Some point out that the displace is because Denver as a city has been growing immensely since the legalization of recreational marijuana, and as a result, the bustling growth of the start-up business sector. With an expanding population it is logical to conclude that the housing market would become as clogged as I-25 has become. Denver is slowly eliminating its old world charm and creating a more polished, modern version of itself. There are new apartment buildings and new highways either recently finished or just being built on every corner.

Any familiar place that hasn’t been built within the last 50 years has been torn down; it seems that Denver has a strange self-conscious quality to it, as if its expansion is to impress the masses rather than just exist with them. Denver—the newest and hippest place to live—is ever-changing, causing newcomers who may not understand the history of these places to exercise their own economic and/ or white privilege to develop these neighborhoods as they see fit.

Without a doubt, cities need to develop and grow; there is no way around that and it is not necessarily a bad thing. It only becomes a bad thing when the growing popularity of a city begins to displace some of the more underappreciated, but equally important, characteristics of the city. Rhinoceropolis and Glob are just a few of these areas who have been tragically impacted by Denver’s rising popularity and gentrification.

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