Local Organizations Expand: Dream big or go home!

“Dream BIG or go home” seems to be the mantra of three of the area’s leading cultural organizations. Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Denver Museum of Nature & Science and Miners Alley Playhouse (now Performing Arts Center) have ambitious plans for expansion.

While all three organizations benefit from the citizen approved SCFD — a 0.1% sales tax in the seven-county metro area — those funds cannot be used on capital expenses. Therefore, each of these organizations has sought community support for their projects and the results have been overwhelming.


Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Expansion Plan

In March 2022, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance was awarded a $4 million Community Revitalization grant from Colorado Creative Industries to help fund an ambitious new 25,000 square foot, four-level building that features a theater, healing arts center, three movement studios, four activity rooms for multidisciplinary arts classes, and a shared office space for resident partners.

Now just months away from its groundbreaking in May 2024, the project is expected to be completed in 2025 after which it will continue to serve as a convener of community, art and dance.

“This facility will amplify our ability to serve as a gathering space where communities and creatives come to exchange ideas and inspire us through the artwork,” said Malik Robinson, President & CEO.

Established in 1970, CPRD emerged from the Black Arts and Civil Rights movements and is now one of the largest cultural organizations of color in the western United States. The company hosts a season of original ballets, provides extensive amateur and professional dance training, and is a cultural ambassador both at home and around the world. Learn more about their expansion project at cleoparkerrobinsondance.org.


DMNS Expansion Plan

Incorporated in 1900 and opened to the public in 1908, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science has been fortunate to renovate and expand over the years in order to grow to meet the increasing interest of residents and tourists alike. Its newest East Wing Renovation Project will “rejuvenate and reimagine the historic theater, lobby and plaza on the east side of the building” with a solid focus on building community connections, according to The Catalyst.

The project is broken into two phases, with Phase One now complete and Phase Two ready to begin. Phase One primarily focused on a renovation of the Infinity Theater with the creation of a giant screen, new projection system, utilization of a hearing induction loop system, and an updated lobby for pre-show gatherings.

Phase Two will upgrade and renovate the East Wing and Plaza to offer a gathering spot for school and community groups, spaces for new activities and science demonstrations, and opportunities for partnerships with artists, filmmakers and families.

“This transformative project will create deeper connections between the Museum, City Park and the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Ed Scholz, Executive Vice President of Finance and Operations, “by fostering expanded programming, enhanced accessibility and community gathering and engagement.”

For more information on the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and its expansion project, please visit www.dmns.org.


Miner’s Alley Expansion Plan

In theatre, you are generally only limited by your imagination so when Len Matheo and Lisa DeCaro of Miners Alley Playhouse dreamed, they dreamed big. For nearly 10 years, the husband-and-wife powerhouse behind the 20-year success of Miners Alley had dreamed of something more. Specifically, they had their eye on the nearby Meyer Hardware Store. Shoppers saw hammers and nails. Matheo and DeCaro saw a stage waiting for its opening night.

“The first time I entered this building,” Matheo said to the DCPA NewsCenter in 2022, “I thought, ‘this would make a really great theatre.’ The layout is conducive to a large main floor stage, and there is an adjacent backstage area and full basement for the construction of sets and the installation of trap spaces. It was perfect.”

But sometimes dreams require patience and tenacity. When the owners of the store decided to sell, Matheo saw his opportunity. With financial backing from a number of investors including the Golden Civic Foundation, this dream became a reality.

In November 2023, the Phase One of the renovation opened with a 157-seat proscenium theatre, box office and dressing rooms. Now the duo focuses on Phase 2, which will require an additional $10 million in funding to transform the proscenium theatre into a 300-seat theatre-in-the-round as well as add an expanded education center, intimate Studio Theater, rehearsal and event spaces, artist housing, a scene shop, design studio, and backstage piano bar.

To learn more about their ambitious plans for the newly renamed Miners Alley Performing Art Center, visit www.minersalley.com.