FRESH PERSPECTIVE: New voice for Colfax arts group is a familiar one

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AURORA | The Aurora Cultural Arts District Board of Directors didn’t have to look far to find the organization’s newest czar.

Satya Wimbish, an artist and mainstay of the bohemian corridor along East Colfax Corridor, was named the ACAD’s newest executive director last month.

Satya Wimbish, FILE PHOTO BY SENTINEL COLORADO

Just the second director in the nonprofit organization’s seven-year existence, Wimbish, 38, inherits a 16-block creative hive continually vying to vaporize old tropes of Colfax and magnetize artists to live and work in the area.

“I’m just continuing to move forward with work that I’ve been doing,” she said. “I don’t think anything changed really other than my title.”

Indeed, Wimbish is no stranger to the area between Clinton Street and Geneva Street. She first became involved with the ACAD in 2011, when she attended an artist’s market in Fletcher Plaza. She then began volunteering on an events committee she saw advertised on a flyer, became a board member for the local nonprofit organization, and has served as the group’s president for the past several years. Stephanie Hancock of the 5280 Artist Co-op, an Aurora-based performing arts organization, succeeded Wimbish as president of the ACAD board last month.

“I just started out as an artist who came out to the plaza trying to sell some artwork,” said Wimbish, who also operated The Collection gallery near the corner of Colfax and Elmira Street for several years. “And it became a life of its own.”

Originally from Springfield, Massachusetts, Wimbish took the ACAD reins from Tracy Weil, a co-founder of the booming River North Arts District in Denver who helmed the Aurora district for about four years.

Weil said he started phasing out of his work with ACAD late last year to devote more of his time to RiNo.

“There was just too much on my plate,” said Weil, who graduated from Aurora Central High School. “But I grew up in Aurora. It’s always been in my heart and always will be.”

An Aurora native, Weil said he’s proud of the relationships the ACAD was able to forge with various north Aurora constituencies, including city staff and politicos. He said he’s anxious to learn about the results of a months-long market survey of the area conducted by Art Space, a national non-profit development and consulting firm based in Minnesota.

Wimbish said the results of the market study are expected to be disclosed at a city council meeting at 4 p.m. on Oct. 23 at the Aurora Municipal Center.

“I’m very excited to see where the study goes,” Weil said.

Launched in May, the market survey was financed by an $18,000 grant, as well as some $15,000 in city funding, city staff said earlier this year.

Aside from the survey results, Wimbish said she has lofty plans for the district for the waning months of 2019.

She’s currently working with the city’s planning department to roll out a streetlamp banner campaign intended to demarcate the corridor and let passersby know they’re in a state-recognized arts district. She said she plans to put out a statewide call for entries to artists interested in creating different designs for the signs.

Wimbish is also organizing several upcoming events, including a trick or treat event Oct. 26 and an artist and business owner meet and greet Dec. 3 at the People’s Building. Several other festivals and events are already on the docket for 2020.

“I just work, man,” Wimbish, who still creates art at her home near East Alameda Avenue and South Havana Street, said with a chuckle. “I’m just doing what I do.”