In this week’s RiNo, love is in the air and on the wall. After a one-year hiatus, Side Stories, an immersive large format film installation featuring Colorado artists, will return to its fourth production until February 20th. This year’s theme, perfectly timed with Valentine’s Day, focuses on what the world seems urgently needed today: a good love story.
During a walking tour of Montreal, SideStories co-founder Fiona Arnold was inspired by the projection of historic images along the ramparts. In 2017, in partnership with the Martin Family Foundation and RiNo Art District, their team brought this concept to Denver, but with a unique twist. Instead of a historical image, they decided to give local artists a unique canvas, the walls of the surrounding city.
In its fourth year, Side Stories continues to inspire and support the Denver art community. Through a highly competitive submission process, the jury selects five artists to perform at the event. These lucky few people are asked to create a large-format cinematic experience projected along the walls of RiNo, creating an “easy-to-walk art experience” that is generally offered free of charge. In addition, each of these artists will receive a $ 5,000 scholarship. This is a donation that can make all the difference to your local creative.
“It’s great to be rewarded as an artist,” said Xadie James, a local musician and side-story artist. “It’s important to put money into the artistic community in a very realistic way. It makes this possible, it’s a very long way to go. I’m very grateful.”
This support of Denver’s art and culture is more important than ever. After the peak of 2019, the arts and culture community lost 10 years of growth in 2020 alone, according to a recent study released by the Colorado Arts Business Commission. As a result, economic activity in the sector fell by $ 1.5 billion and education support fell by 46%.
These extraordinary reports make the side story mission very impactful and make the 2022 side story theme very necessary. This year’s show presents a cinematic love story created by five Colorado artists, Elavance, The Di James, Anditodaro, Natalie Interts, and Travis Vermilier. Their films, which are scattered along Walnut and Larimar, are very different from the previous ones. The two artists did not have the same definition of love — each interpreting their assignment in a unique and eye-catching way.
Created by local artist Andi Todaro. Almost ignored laughter ecstasy It loops on 33rd and Larimer and sticks out to the towering pillars of the dry ice factory. Her film explores the playfulness of sensuality after a year away from each other.
“It’s all these textures of these things that you may not notice or think are very sensual,” Todaro said. This work consists of images of random objects from everyday life such as jellyfish, velvet, water gels, jellyfish, and poetry written by the artist. She describes this work as a sense gratitude, a way to improve your life in a way we often forget.
“If you look at them up close, you’ll notice how cool things are,” she explained. “Love is hard, relationships are hard, but keep in mind that even the simplest objects are really cool.”
Todaro’s concept is more abstract, but other artists have taken a more traditional approach to the theme. Denver filmmaker Emma Vance used her canvas (No. 32 and the brick wall at the corner of Larimar) to screen a short silent film telling the story of three different love stories. The task of creating such works is not only the artist who creates them, but also exciting and demanding.
“This was definitely a challenge,” explained actress Ruby Lee Pierce, who appears in the Vance movie. She says, “There is no dialogue, so I don’t rely on anything but a physical expression of love.”
All five artists have created very unique pieces that make a movie-to-movie walk worthwhile even on the coldest nights. The art featured in Side Stories may look different year after year, but the great gratitude these artists have for this event remains the same.
“This experience has always been great,” said returning artist Travis Vermilier. “It’s nice to go out and see something colorful and moving on the wall. There are lots of murals in this neighborhood and it’s unique to see what’s constantly changing.”
Side Stories is a large, immersive art exhibition featuring the films of Colorado artists. This event will be held until February 20th and will be open to the public for free. To find out more about events and artists, or view tour maps, visit their website or follow us on Instagram.