Jesse Manley has a fresh track for your hungry ears. Photo by Amanda Tipton. There are many reasons to create music, of course. There’s the pedestrian desire for popularity, there is the vaulted idea of artistic creation, but there are also less common reasons. For Jesse Manley, one reason seems to be archeological exploration. On […]
In March 2013, Wonderbound moved to 1075 Park Avenue West—a 1920’s United States Post Office Garage at the confluence of Denver’s Arapahoe Square, Ballpark, Curtis Park, Five Points and RiNo Neighborhoods. Wonderbound shares this space with Community Coordinating District No. 1—a metropolitan district created to facilitate public improvement and development initiatives within the Downtown Denver community—and Urban Market Partners—a development firm focused on progressive development projects in Denver’s urban core—creating a unique partnership which brings the public, private and nonprofit sectors together under one roof.
The space was affectionately dubbed “Junction Box” for its unassuming architecture and location at the intersection of three major thoroughfares, but most importantly for the idea that it would serve as a gathering place and nerve center to animate the area with ongoing creative energy. With two transparent garage doors facing Park Avenue West, residents of the community have a direct view into Wonderbound’s creative process every day. In addition, Wonderbound engages in a variety of regularly occurring events, open rehearsals, installations, classes and spontaneous performances in and around Junction Box with the goal of developing local equity and pride in the neighborhood.
Situated among three homeless missions—St Francis Center, Denver Rescue Mission and Catholic Charities—Junction Box sits at the heart of one of Denver’s most historically challenged areas. Public space has served almost exclusively as de facto gathering places for the poor and disenfranchised for decades, leaving them vulnerable to drug dealers and gangs. There is broad agreement that there are no simple solutions to these challenges. Lasting and positive transformation will only come through embracing the complexities of the area and its diverse population. Disrupting the status quo by injecting ongoing creative activity has not only increased the vibrancy and activity in the area, but has also inspire a new perspective about what the neighborhood can become.
Junction serves as more than a simple rehearsal space; it is an artist gallery and studio, event and meeting space, forum and organizing venue. Junction Box is a place to escape, to discover, to dream, and to act upon audacious ideas that can make the community a more beautiful and connected place.