Historic Chicano Gallery in Denver Forced to Move Because of Gentrification

Lead Photo: Photo by peeterv / iStock Unreleased / Getty Images Plus
Photo by peeterv / iStock Unreleased / Getty Images Plus
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The Chicano Humanities and Arts Council (CHAC) is a mainstay in the Mexican enclave of La Alma in West Denver. But as the historic Santa Fe Arts District quickly gentrifies and strip malls erase the Mexican-American community’s history, CHAC – which has jumpstarted many Chicano artists’ careers – is also feeling the effects. The nonprofit art gallery will be forced to move.

“At first, I was upset,” said Lucille Rivera, CHAC’s executive director, to CBS 4. “You didn’t have the decency to say, ‘We’re going to sell.’ The fact that we have been here so long, they should have told us.”

CHAC rents the current space, without a lease, for $2,000 a month. But because the owner seeks to sell the property this year, the gallery will move six blocks south. Its new rent will be twice as expensive, and Rivera is worried about how this will hurt the organization. “It would hurt us to go anywhere else,” she said. “I think any business that’s been in a place for a long time will suffer a little bit.”