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Art Lab Loveland finds new home

March 3, 2011
Jennifer Cline of Loveland paints a picture of Loveland's historic Feed and Grain at the left as other artists work on a large commuity painting of the Feed and Grain during the town's monthly Night on the Town in January. The painting is at Loveland's Art Lab, 218 E. Fourth St.
BY MARIA SERVOLD • Loveland Connection•
February 10, 2011

Although the move won’t be far, Art Lab Loveland
hopes its new home with Almosta Mercantile Inc. on
East Fourth Street will bring new possibilities to the
organization that helps up-and-coming artists make
a name for themselves.

After opening in May 2010 in a space a few doors
down from the Rialto Theater, Art Lab Loveland has
found a new home as plans for the Rialto Bridge
Project begin to take shape. The current Art Lab
location will become part of the expanded Rialto
complex, which will feature a new multiuse facility
adjacent to the theater.

On March 11, Art Lab will begin its temporary move
to the east part of Almosta’s building on East Fourth
Street during the Night on the Town celebration.

Almosta owner Amy White said she offered friend
and Art Lab founder Leah Johnson use of 1,000
square feet of space for six months until it finds a
more permanent home.

“It’s a win-win situation,” White said. “We’ve already
had people come in and ask about it. (The
upcoming move) has been very well-received.”

Almosta opened 15 years ago in the small space to
the east of its current store area. It eventually
expanded and now takes up both spaces.

In order to accommodate Art Lab, White’s
merchandise will just have to be consolidated, she
said, adding that she believes Art Lab’s move will be
good for many businesses in downtown Loveland.

“They’ll bring in people we don’t normally see and
vice versa,” White said.

Johnson said she and Loveland’s director of cultural
services, Susan Ison, developed Art Lab Loveland to
give local artists space to display their work, create
new art and gather with other community members.
Since its opening, Art Lab has displayed 37 artists
in nine months at its current location.

When Art Lab opens at 345 E. Fourth St., work by
two new artists will grace the studio’s walls and a

quartet from the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra
will welcome interested citizens to the new location.

“Art Lab is really a blank slate for artists to create a
space in which they can do whatever they like,”
Johnson said.

The energy surrounding Art Lab and Almosta’s 15-
year presence in downtown Loveland will make the
move strong, she said.

“The idea is to activate and galvanize spaces in the
downtown core,” Johnson said. “This will encourage
the energy and vitality of downtown.”

Art Lab is open from 6 to 9 p.m. Fridays, Johnson
said, so Almosta will extend its Friday hours as well.

Local painter and photographer Ali Almquist was
one of the first artists to have her work displayed in
Art Lab Loveland. Since then, she has become more
involved with the organization and even helps it
find new artists to feature and musicians to perform.
Almquist also is seeking artists to teach free classes
on weekends in Art Lab’s new location.

Participating in Art Lab activities has helped boost
her career, she said.

“For me, it’s helped get my name out there, and it’s a
free space to be creative,” Almquist said. “It’s a
community art space. It’s an amazing opportunity.”

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