Shared from the 5/31/2019 The Denver Post eEdition

Jamie Giellis’ work in RiNo was groundbreaking

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The River North Art District is a better place today because of Jamie Giellis’ work over the past few years. As individuals, we must respond to the unjustified attack on her by two former board members who support Michael Hancock.

While everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, it is a sad day when people will advance a political agenda and try to drag a hard-working collective of organizations down with it. Some of us had heard about Jamie’s work with Colorado’s certified art districts across the city and state before we met her. She had a mystique and a kind of hero status in the art community — working with fledgling groups and art districts to organize themselves, increase their budgets, and put together marketing strategies.

She was known for giving artists knowledge and access to the tools that others in the business community already had. Those who weren’t lucky enough to work with her developed a kind of “art district envy.” Her good reputation preceded her and did not disappoint when we finally met her.

The plan for River North was groundbreaking and like nothing we’d heard before. It was a collective effort by the River North Art District, under Jamie’s guidance, to join with neighboring businesses and residents to form a Business Improvement District and a General Improvement District, as well as create a registered neighborhood organization.

Essentially, Jamie listened to her constituents and guided several disparate groups to pull in the same direction. One of her greatest superpowers: listening.

Throughout the past five years, we have seen her work incredibly hard. She has virtually done the work of two people — juggling three Boards, leading RiNo’s involvement in large-scale civic projects (including Brighton Boulevard, the RTD Blake Street Commuter Rail Station, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, redevelopment of buildings in the new RiNo Park, among others) and managing a growing staff and office.

Jamie has a knack for breaking a large issue down into components, bringing the right people to the table, and engaging those people and the community to create solutions and move the ball forward. When the door closes on a project, Jamie finds the key to reopen it and keep it going.

Jamie’s work in RiNo was exemplary, and it is important that the people of Denver know we were lucky to have her for the past five years.

Chandler Romeo owns the Blue Silo Studios artist space in River North with her husband. She has served on the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs, the Denver International Airport Public Art Committee and the Mayor’s Task Force on Creative Spaces. Jonathan Kaplan owns Plinth Gallery in RiNo where he has lived and worked for 13 years.

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