Stanley Marketplace art gallery ZEEL considers next incarnation


AURORA | After seven months and five exhibitions, the first enclosed art gallery at Stanley Marketplace is closing up shop at the end of the month.

The “ZEEL: awareness through art” gallery is ending a roughly seven-month lease at Stanley at the end of June, but the space isn’t moving far, according to Dana Barak, the gallery’s director and curator.

Barak said ZEEL is in the process of ironing out the details regarding the gallery’s presence at Stanley going forward. The group will likely join a collaborative venture with the Aurora Cultural Art District’s gallery in Stanley just a few storefronts down from ZEEL’s current pad on the marketplace’s second floor, she said.

“We don’t know for sure what it’s going to look like, but the focus will be on Aurora and Aurora artists primarily, but not exclusively,” Barak said. “It may end up being a very eclectic space where there’s rotating exhibits and artists, kind of like … Super Ordinary (art gallery) in The Source (an artisan food market located in a landmark building in the River North neighborhood of Denver).”

Barak added she’s keen on getting artwork displayed in some of the common areas at Stanley, although those plans remain uncertain.

“The idea is that people are able to … combine recreation and the arts,” she said. “That’s something in the cards as well.”

Tracy Weil, managing director of the ACAD, confirmed that the ACAD gallery at Stanley will likely be more of a joint effort between multiple entities going forward. Since the space’s lease expired at the end of May, Weil has been in the process of renegotiating terms, he said.

“It could be a kind of mini Denver Flea — a version kind of like that,” Weil said. “Just kind of highlighting the different makers in Aurora and Stapleton, testing out new products and things like that.”

Weil said the space could serve as a retail hub for some Stanley and Aurora swag, and will likely feature works from local immigrant and refugee artists. Along with several other local entities, Weil will be working with a bevy of foreign-born artists in the coming months in an effort to help them display their work through a new program deemed the Acadia Project.

“Part of that is to work with refugee and immigrant artists and help them display their work and get their work out there,” he said. “And, to me, the Stanley is such a great spot for that.”

The developers behind Stanley remain committed to showcasing various forms of art at the massive bazaar going forward, according to Bryant Palmer, a spokesman for the marketplace.

“Sometimes those spaces will be enclosed, like at ZEEL and Atown Art, and other times we’ll use public spaces,” Palmer wrote in an email. “We have lots of walls and hallways and space both inside and outside where we’ll be able to showcase art in many ways.

“We’ve been committed to visual art and the arts in general since we launched this project, and that will continue. But like the marketplace itself, how we showcase art will change and evolve over time.”

Palmer added that Stanley has already dedicated several walls in the marketplace to murals by local street artists, including Pedro Barrios, Jaime Milina, Pat Milbery and Remington Robinson.

Earlier this spring, Stanley hosted an immersive theater production staged by an offshoot of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. The DCPA will be returning to Stanley with yet another immersive production of “The Wild Party” this fall.

Stanley will also host a satellite edition of the renowned Cherry Creek Arts Festival for the third consecutive year this September, according to Palmer.

But before ZEEL dims the lights at its current location in suite 256 at the end of the month, the gallery is showing dozens of artifacts and works in its latest exhibit, entitled “Cherished: Honoring life through loss.” ZEEL has staged four other exhibits at Stanley since December.

The current show features works either by or in honor of artists who have passed away, according to Barak.

“I think it’s kind of a fitting goodbye, in a way,” she said. “We really wanted to go out with something really potent. And I think that the whole show is more of a catharsis.”

From 1930s-era comic strips to recently discovered film slides, the exhibition showcases a slew of artistic relics courtesy of local creatives, including Heather McGuire, Brett Arnold Fox, and Brett Matarazzo, to name a few.

The gallery will be open Thursday evenings and during the day on weekends until the end of the month. Work will be available for sale at the artist’s discretion, Barak said.