Due to a common connection via a friend I made last spring when spent 4 days in San Diego together for our social documentary class for MSCD. Mind you it was 4 RAIN SOAKED days of cold, misery as we lost our way into people's lives to collect their stories and the images that would visually represent them...we bonded in ways that none will ever forget. Despite miles, range of ages, range of areas of study, I know we all still think of each other often and reminisce about the most miserable, yet memorable opportunity to grow any of us had ever had up to that point.
But, I digress, this mutual friend introduced me to this organization The Giving Table. I will admit, sheepishly, I was REALLY not much into charities because I feel like everywhere I look or turn someone is asking me for money for some "cause" and I have VERY little-to-no money and become overwhelmed trying to choose whom I can give my measly dollar to!
So, of course, I was scared. But, something motivated me to ask..."what can I give?" So, I asked my friend if I could possibly offer my photography services in lieu of money or working the event (I also didn't have time to really devote more than an hour or so). To my surprise, they said "yes!" I was kind of taken a-back...but was really excited! Unfortunately, I hadn't realized the date and ended up having a conflict and wasn't able to participate. But Maia Stone, the awesome social entrepreneur extraoridinaire, said she'd happily contact me down-the-road for her many other events.
Well, lots of time went by and I hadn't heard anything and was putting more and more stuff on my plate anyway. So, I didn't think much past that. Then, she came to me about this new project & I immediately pounced on the opportunity! Unfortunately, timing STILL hasn't worked out well for me...but, I'm determined, DAMNED determined! So, finally, I was able to capture these images of 5 Points prior to the art rejuvenation and I can NOT wait to see what Welton Street looks like after all of the artist installations have been completed...not to mention, to see how 5 Points continues to rehabilitate it's history and culture. Exciting times!
The following information is directly from the organizations website
. It's really quite an inspiring movement and I'm hoping to be able to participate in events for years to come!
"The 5 Points Storefront Art Movement is a neighborhood and community development project, playing a central role in rebuilding community pride and stimulating the economy. Storefront art is growing trend, used as a creative way to address vacancies, attract new business, and provide opportunities for local artists to work together with business and property owners to showcase both the art and the businesses.
For this project, entries are open to local artists, as well as art teachers and nonprofit directors choosing to work on this project with their youth. Selected artists or groups will work with business and property owners to showcase their art, and build a stronger community. As the community becomes more engaged with the storefronts they will energize the street, and gain a greater understanding of the role design and art play in urban spaces.
Artist entries must be rooted in, and depict the culture of Five Points – past, present, or future. They should honor the past and/or depict ideas and dreams for the future. Entries should be thoughtful, meaningful, and use a unique artist voice and style to express the vibrant community we all strive to create.
Aside from the brief history provided here, artists are encouraged to visit the area, and learn about Five Points using a variety of resources.
The rich history of Five Points includes being known for being the heart of African American culture and community in Denver. The period through the 30′s, 40′s and 50′s was the height of the neighborhood’s reign as the jazz and entertainment destination. Jazz greats had to enter through the back door at the white-owned hotels where they performed, but were warmly welcomed and played to sold-out crowds at the Rossonian Hotel, at the heart of Five Points.
Early in the twentieth century, Five Points was also home to many Mexican and Mexican-American families, who were third generation community members, by the time Curtis Park was renovated in the 1980′s.
Throughout this period, Five Points was also home to many successful businesses and professionals, including Dr. Justina Ford, Denver’s first black female doctor, and Rodolpho “Corky” Gonzales. Corky Gonzales graduated from Manual High School in 1944, was a professional boxer, and a political activist. Charles “Brother” Cousins, also a graduate of Manual High School, was known as a real estate investor, mentor, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and much more. As a tribute to his contribution to the community, the Blair-Caldwell Library plaza bears his name."