Joe Hodas beamed looking at the three buildings. “Being designated as an essential business means we have an obligation to give back to the community.” Hodas is the Chief Marketing Officer for Wana, a cannabis company that produces edibles and other marijuana products. Their company is helping underwrite a unique project on Tennyson St. Three buildings that are likely to be demolished early next year have been sitting empty, but will be home for unique projects for a short time at least.
The outside of the buildings are vibrant on their own with colorful murals, a metal giraffe made of “industrial garbage,” by local artist Mitch Hoffman, and redone backyards with seating and bars set up for social distancing, but the true beauty lies within.
The main attraction is the art house, where the performance artists group “Rainbow Militia” has created an immersive production in each room. For safety reasons, artists are separated from observers by plastic sheeting, creating an almost zoolike atmosphere. Tickets are purchased by group, so attendees from different groups don’t interact with each other and each group is let through the building separately.
Ranging from a pole dancer in one room to a woman reading stories in Spanish with shadow imagery telling the story in another, the production is diverse to say the least. One hallway has pages from a book wallpapering the stairwell and attendees duck to get through a hole cut into the wall connecting two other rooms. It’s a performance art show that can’t be replicated and is unlike anything else happening in Denver right now.
Tickets are available for shows through August 23 and available at https://www.rainbowmilitiaaerial.com/new-events/gnome
The other two buildings may not be quite so avant-garde, but the hosts hope they’re appealing nonetheless and both are open to the public. “We saw an opportunity to use these buildings,” said Tim Sack, activation director for Reactiv, a company that handles short term rentals for commercial buildings, like an Airbnb for businesses.
The middle building has been transformed into a beach house by visual artist Sara Minerd, who creates immersive projects under the name LUCIA. Lucia comes from the Italian word for light. The beach house is open and available for private rentals as well. The space itself is open and calming and the backyard extends the beach motif. Guests can also order food from nearby restaurants and sit out back. The last house is giving pop up businesses another chance at reaching customers. Liz Taylor, who runs Black Tiger Market has currently set up shop.
These projects will continue to operate for a time after Rainbow Militia’s show ends, but final dates have not been set.
The three buildings are located on the 4300 block of Tennyson St in the Berkeley neighborhood.