Ironton was conceived in 1999 by friends Russ Beardsley, Debra Goldman, Mike Mancarella and David Walter. They met while at UCD's sculpture department and were renting a studio on Brighton when they found the property at 36th and Chestnut.
The area had long been host to industry and artisans and they found it an appropriate place to build an artist community. It took a year to rehab the former garage and to landscape the yard. Ironton was named after the school that sat just east of the land at the turn of the century.
Complete with metal fabricating facilities, woodshops, darkrooms, sculpture and painting studios, Ironton is a place for artist's to collaborate with one another and engage the public through the gallery and open studios. Currently there are 12 artist's studios and creative businesses at Ironton. In September of 2013 a new building will open adding 4500 square feet of work space.
Along with the individual spaces there is a shared kitchen area, landscaped sculpture garden and an 800 square foot gallery that is open to the public. Ironton occupies 3/4's of an acre across from Weilworks in River North. In October of 2008 Ironton received a Mayors Design Award under the category "Oh, Pioneers" recognizing their early settlement in the River North area.
In 2006 Jill Hadley Hooper became a partner. That same year she and Tracy Weil co-founded The River North Art District. Jill coordinates the gallery and maintains the gardens. In 2006 Debra and Russ moved to Washington but are still involved and the garden is a reminder of the quiet and thoughtful attitude that they brought to the space.
Mike Mancarella's business Junoworks and sculpture facilities are based at Ironton. He also runs Ironton's day to day business activities and manages the studios. Though David Walter is no longer part of Ironton, his hand is visible everywhere; from the sliding gallery door to the sculptures outside.
Ironton hosts 11 shows a year; half of these are Ironton artists and the other dates are filled with folks from the community. Yearly there is a call for entries. From these submissions the outside shows are chosen, the jury is composed of Ironton owners and artists.
The success and great reputation of Ironton is due is large part to our gallery alumni who have put together the varied and professional exhibits we've had over the past ten years.
Note: Historic Image of Ironton Courtesy of Denver Public Library Western History/Genealogy Department Call # X-28538