Smash in the Square event director Anthony Constantino believes the inaugural weekend of his new art festival in Cherry Creek is a comeback.
Constantino describes the festival as an open-air art exhibition, featuring top-tier art set to live violin music. Smash in the Square was initially planned for last summer, but was canceled because of issues surrounding the permit. This year, Constantino has been busy relaunching the festival in hopes the event will benefit artists while connecting the Cherry Creek community. The festival will be held on St. Paul Street between 2nd and 3rd avenues on the weekend of Aug. 3-4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“It’s a world-class nationally recognized hotspot for high-end art and culture,” Constantino said on his choice to hold the festival in Cherry Creek. “There are a lot of art enthusiasts, art lovers and art collectors in that area.”
The festival will showcase painting, photography, mixed media and jewelry. Festival-goers can expect art by nationally known artists and local Colorado artists.
“These shows are really about focusing on the artist and giving them the best opportunity for promotion,” Constantino said. “They are really the ones who help drive our art cultural development in our communities.”
This past spring, Constantino held a festival at The Village in Castle Pines in Douglas County. Additionally, he has worked to combine philanthropy and art at his festivals and silent auctions in the past.
While last year’s festival was planned for South Jackson Street, a mainly residential street in Cherry Creek, it has been moved to the mixed-use St. Paul Street. The new location has allowed Constantino to reach out to local businesses in hopes that the Smash festival will bring them additional foot traffic.
“I have been reaching out to all the businesses, and I have gotten a lot of people’s support,” Constantino said. “Everyone is really excited about it and thinks it will be a great and positive event for the area.”
According to Jill Lis of the City and County of Denver’s Department of Special Events, last year’s festival revealed a gap in the city’s permitting process. While Constantino had all the requirements to meet the permit, the event’s proposed location on South Jackson Street did not meet the needs of some residents. The city has since worked to change the way permits work for events on residential blocks, so neighbors and event planners feel represented in the planning process.
“If someone else came to the table and wanted to have an event in a similar space they would not be allowed unless they got 75% written support by the local residents,” Lis said of the new process. “What we encourage with all events, whether it’s just in a park or they require a street closure, is that they go through this notification process where they actively reach out to the residents and businesses directly …Just to proactively engage them and inform them of what is coming.”
Despite the challenges that have occurred, those involved in the festival and in the neighborhood, are gearing up for the exciting new event. Beyond the celebration of art and those who create it, Constantino is hopeful that the festival will also connect and celebrate the local community.
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