Empty storefronts windows along Main Avenue in Durango could be packed with art displays this holiday season to beautify and liven up the downtown.
The city’s Creative Economy Commission set aside $3,000 to award to artists for the creation and installation of window displays by Nov. 29, said Tim Walsworth, executive director of the Business Improvement District.
The BID and the Durango Creative District are jointly managing the pilot project to fill empty storefronts with art to increase their curb appeal, he said.
The Creative Economy Commission, formerly known as the city’s Public Art Commission, expanded its mission this year to include fostering creative businesses, industries and artists, among other goals. Funding art to fill empty storefronts fit well into the new expanded purpose of the commission, said Chairwoman Erin Murphy.
“We thought it would be a quick and easy way to show the value of the arts,” Murphy said.
Similar projects in other towns have helped landlords rent property, she said.
Main Avenue has three empty storefronts that could be filled with art, if the landlords agree, Walsworth said. The art is expected to come down in early January, he said.
“We have limited canvases to paint on,” he said.
In downtown, only 2.8% of the available 750,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space is empty, he said.
However, if the pilot project goes well, grant funding from the city could be renewed to keep storefronts full of art, Walsworth said.
Murphy said artists can submit existing work or propose new installations. Submissions from local schools are also welcome, she said. The proposals do not have to fit a theme, she said.
“We have intentionally tried to keep it super broad, so as much creativity can come through as possible,” Murphy said.
The deadline to submit ideas is Nov. 19. Questions can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.