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DIY Locals Repurpose the Golden Mill

The GLDN Pop-Up Pops off

Most of downtown Golden is sleepy on Friday afternoons. A few stragglers walk the streets, hands in pockets. No one seems to realize what’s going on just down the block. Across the river in a low, white cinderblock building, a group of people bustle about, carting in art supplies, skateboards, and lunch. They’re creating the Golden Mill pop-up venue (GLDN), a music venue and art gallery right in the heart of downtown Golden.

Similar venues have become less frequent in recent years after the fire at Ghost Ship Warehouse in Oakland. Several Denver DIY staples were also shut down in the River North Art District. 

The inside subverts any expectations one might have while standing on the front steps. Every wall is covered with art installations from painted skateboards to reconstructed Bart Simpson dolls. “These are all local artists. Every single piece of art was done by someone I went to school with, or someone I’ve known for a long, long time,” said Sean Christian McDonnell.

Art Fills the Walls at the GLDN Pop-Up. Photo credit: John Mazzetta · The Sentry

McDonnell, age 23, is the mastermind behind the project. “We used to throw parties at Bob’s Atomic Burgers once a month, but then it got to be too small of a venue.” To compensate, he decided to rent out the Golden Mill, a building on the verge of being torn down and renovated. The idea of repurposing the mill wasn’t a new one, but it was a difficult one. The mill belongs to the community and McDonnell and his friends have been jumping through hoops to bring things to life. 

Throughout the month of October, the venue will be hosting a variety of events. Each Sunday at 11 a.m., a yoga class will be held inside the gallery. It will be taught by Samantha Weese and James Medina. The event is donation-based so people pay what they can.

Their first music event is an Avante Jazz Night to be held on Friday, Oct. 12. Artists performing include NAME, Kaitlyn Williams, dr3am, c@$t, BabyBaby, Ames1, Fedrow, and Yeahyeah. The event will also feature a dance performance by Samantha Weese and Gabriela Garza-Vasquez. A $5–10 donation is requested for entry.

The third planned show is called “Haunting the Mill” and it will take place on Friday, Oct. 26. Musical guests include Mystic Wool, High Ghostly, Dylan Connor Streight, Princess Dewclaw, Ghoulfriend, Zachary Antonio, Gort vs Groom, and rbrt. The event will be hosted by local emcee Josue Flores. They also request a $5-10 donation on arrival. 

The lineup for the second show, on Oct. 19, has yet to be released, but will have an alternative rock and hip hop theme.

“I’m just so happy that they let us do something so cool with a building that’s about to be destroyed,” said McDonnell. The community of Golden was excited as well. Artists and DJs weren’t the only ones running around the space. Townspeople walked from art exhibit to art exhibit, admiring and taking photos. 

“The community needs something like this,” said McDonnell. “It’s just so, so sick.” Music venues like this have become rare in Colorado, but GLDN is ready to be the first to bring them back.

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