Octopus Initiative: How the MCA Denver is connecting local artists to the public

Posted at 9:47 PM, Mar 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-16 09:32:27-04

DENVER -- The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver wants to make sure you have access to the artworks of local artists by lending you their art for up to a year.

The Octopus Initiative, an art library lending project, was started by Adam Lerner to essentially give people access to original art, while exposing artists to the greater Denver community. 

"Denver is prospering but a lot of artists in this city feel alienated, they feel like they are being priced out of the new Denver," said Lerner, the Mark G. Falcone Director and Chief Animator at the MCA.

As part of it’s first phase, 20 Denver artists created pieces to lend out to the public. The museum plans to lend hundreds of them by 2020.

"Let's make sure anybody who loves art is able to then take home original works by the artists that they love," Lerner said.

One of those people is Stephanie Edwards. She brought her family to Thursday’s event to learn what the project was all about. She told Denver7 she studies art and works at a fine art gallery, only really ever able to look at the pieces.

"The idea of having an original artwork that is by people that I work with on a daily basis and people in my community, and to see how that's affecting their lives is really profound for me," said Edwards.

Through a lottery system and an online platform, visitors can select their favorites and borrow an art piece for up to a year, changing the way Denver artists create and the way art lovers experience art.

"There are people who love the art, but art is expensive and not everyone is at a point in their lives where they can afford to buy it," said Lerner.

For more information on the Octopus Initiative, visit the museum's website.