Junction Box - 1075 Park Avenue West


Funding Received: 2013
Denver, CO
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
October 20, 2013

Wonderbound in rehearsal for "Memories and Well Grounded Hopes;" photo by Amanda Tipton

We had another month packed full of activity for Junction Box, Wonderbound and our neighborhood.
McNichols Building Creative Family Summer Series - On August 17, Wonderbound had the pleasure of presenting an interactive workshop for children in conjunction with Denver Arts & Venues at the city's beautiful McNichols Building. Producing Director Dawn Fay and six Company Artists presented selections from our production of "Carry On" and then worked with the children and their parents to create their own dance inspired by our beautiful state of Colorado.


One of Professor Phelyx's signature forks after he has done his magic; photo by Amber Blais

Professor Phelyx Demonstration - With "A Gothic Folktale" on the horizon, we brought Illusionist/Mentalist Professor Phelyx to Junction Box on August 21 to begin getting to know the company and give a demonstration of his work. Phelyx proceeded to blow everyone's mind with his ability to bend forks to his will, read minds and duplicate impromptu drawings while completely blind. Afterword, we had a productive brainstorming session to develop concepts for the upcoming production.


Professor Phelyx having Wonderbound Company Artist Marian Faustino inspect a fork; photo by Amber Blais

And a write up about upcoming dance performances in Denver including "A Gothic Folktale": Denver Post -- Fall 2013 Denver dance preview: up and onward to a brighter stage.

Inside Out 11M - From August 20-22, one of Inside Out 11M's photobooth trucks made its way around the Denver area. When they scheduled a stop at Sonny Lawson Park we couldn't help but end the rehearsal day a little early so the Wonderbound crew could stroll down to get their portraits taken and pasted on the side of the Blair-Caldwell Library.


Wonderbound Artists Danny Ryan and Brandon "Private" Freeman showing off their well choreographed Inside Out photos; photo by Garrett Ammon

Here is a story about Inside Out 11M's visit by Colleen O'Connor: Denver Post -- Art installations create portrait of America from faces of immigrants.

The Untitled Book - On August 24, Wonderbound Company Artists Sarah Tallman, Damien Patterson and Julie King headed south with Dawn to present "The Untitled Book" at Colorado Springs Dance Theatre's annual Wine Festival. What a pleasure it was to revisit this dark little work, which was inspired by the illustrations and writings of Edward Gorey, while introducing Wonderbound to CSDT's supporters in anticipation of our upcoming tour to Colorado College.

The Nutcracker Auditions - Dawn and I spent the day on August 25 at Colorado Conservatory of Dance, holding student auditions for this years co-production of "The Nutcracker." With close to 50 talented auditioners, ranging in age from seven to eighteen, it was a busy and inspiring day of dance.

Live at Lunch - During the lunch hour on August 29, four Wonderbound Hares headed to 16th Street Mall to do Live at Lunch, a series of free summer performances between Champa and Curtis streets presented by Bellco Credit Union, Denver Theatre District and Denver Arts & Venues. Surprising people in the course of their everyday with a few minutes of spontaneous dance never ceases being a whole lot of fun.

Pre-Summit Convening - For four days in October, 250 pioneering arts leaders and funders from 14 communities will come together in Denver for The National Innovation Summit for Arts & Culture presented by EmcArts. In anticipation of this event, leaders from more than a dozen Denver organizations came together for the morning on September 6 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. We discussed local achievements in arts innovation and began assessing our community's collective capacities for change leadership in arts and culture.


Meredith Strathmeyer is swept off her feet by her groom on their fifth wedding anniversary while "Tina" and "Elvis" look on; photo courtesy of Meredith Strathmeyer

Vegas at Junction Box - Wonderbound Company Artist Meredith Strathmeyer and her husband Sam Worobec always thought that eloping to Vegas could have been a fun alternative for their wedding day. So, to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary, Meredith and the rest of Wonderbound brought Vegas to Junction Box on September 6 to surprise Sam. Elvis Presley (Company Artist Brandon Freeman) officiated the renewal of Meredith and Sam's vows with the assistance of Tina Turner (Company Artist Damien Patterson). The ceremony included musical performances by Elvis and Tina and was followed by the sharing of homemade cupcakes.

Teaser Episode #1 - As we put the final touches on our program for Colorado College, we presented our first "Teaser Episode" at Junction Box on September 10. The sellout crowd was treated to hors d’oeuvres provided by The Lobby and libations from SIP Fine Wine & Spirits before sitting down for the performance.


Dawn Fay takes questions from the audience during Teaser Episode #1 at Junction Box; photo by Amanda Tipton

We shared "Memories and Well Grounded Hopes," our new collaborative work with Klezmer fusion band Hal Aqua and The Lost Tribe. We followed up the dancing and live music with a robust Q&A session with the crowd. This event was another important affirmation of our move to Junction Box. With no more than social media and email we were able to market the event and fill the room with a diverse audience of both avid fans and first-timers.

Colorado College Master Class - On September 11, Dawn headed down to Colorado Springs to teach a master class at Colorado College as a precursor to the company's arrival the next day. Her ballet class provided the students a glimpse into the rigorous nature of working as a professional dancer in a contemporary dance company.

Memories and Well Grounded Hopes - Wonderbound headed south on September 12 to present its new collaborative production which included "Memories and Well Grounded Hopes" with Hal Aqua and The Lost Tribe as well as "Odessa" to a score by Composer Ofer Ben-Amots performed live by a trio of Colorado College music instructors. The day was whirlwind of stage rehearsal, sound checks and light cues as we prepared for the evening. We were delighted to see a big audience turn out for the performance, despite Colorado being in the midst of a 100 year flood.

Here is a story about the show by Erica Prather: 303 Magazine -- Wonderbound brings Memories and Well Grounded Hopes.

And here is a video of the performance that was broadcast live on the internet: YouTube -- Wonderbound: Memories and Well Grounded Hopes


Four Wonderbound Hares performing at Greenway Foundation's After Party on the Bridge over the South Platte River; photo by Garrett Ammon

Greenway Foundation After Party on the Bridge - Four Wonderbound Hares made their way down the street from Junction Box to Confluence Park on the evening of September 13 to show their support for the Greenway Foundation. The masked Hares made their way through the crowd of young professionals packed onto the historic train bridge that spans the South Platte River and then got the festivities rocking by breaking into dance to music by the Flobots.

Recent Wins
The tireless work of countless individuals, organizations, agencies and businesses in the areas surrounding Junction Box are paying off. The City of Denver announced the approval of plans to begin transforming both Triangle Park (adjacent to Junction Box) and Sonny Lawson Park (three blocks southeast of Junction Box) in the coming months. These plans have been developed in consultation with Community Coordinating District No. 1, Curtis Park Neighbors, Ballpark Neighborhood Association, Arapahoe Square Neighborhood Association and Five Points Business District. The goal of these new plans is to significantly disrupt illegal activity that is rampant in both parks while creating amenities that will encourage personal ownership by a broad range of area stakeholders.

Though any plan that involves significant investment in an area as diverse as this one is going to be contentious, there is broad agreement that action must be taken. The new plan involves the transformation of Triangle Park into a community garden operated by Denver Urban Gardens while Sonny Lawson Park will be redeveloped with a fitness area, benches, picnic and game tables, and a new playground. The work on these parks will begin in tandem and in conjunction with the police and area service organizations.

Here are a few stories about the big changes ahead:
Denver Post -- Denver hopes to plant seeds of change, transform "Triangle Park" area
Denver Post -- Editorial: Denver wisely cleaning up Triangle and Sonny Lawson parks
7 NEWS -- Denver to close 'Triangle Park', create community garden

This Neighborhood is Changing - New construction and redevelopment continues to ramp up across the area, leading to a skyline filled with cranes and a continual progression of earth-moving tractor-trailers down Park Avenue West. These projects include The Douglas, a 310 unit residential and commercial development two blocks northwest of Junction Box; the Mile High United Way Headquarters two blocks southeast; the Renaissance Stout Street Lofts, a 78 unit mixed income development by Colorado Coalition for the Homeless two blocks south; the Curtis Street Lofts, a twelve unit residential development two blocks southwest; and Legacy 22nd, a 212 unit residential development two blocks west.

Visit Denver Infill to learn more about the broad range of construction projects happening in the area.

All of the development activity in Northeast Downtown Denver captured the attention of The New York Times in this story by Alison Gregor: The New York Times -- In Denver, Beat Starts to Pick Up in a Once-Thriving Hub for Jazz.


Hal Aqua and Garrett Ammon take questions from the audience at Wonderbound's Teaser Episode #1; photo by Amanda Tipton

Communities are continually evolving organisms that face challenges regularly as they go through growing pains and contractions. Artists and organizations are a part of this living system, so it is important that we keep our structures permeable and pliant and resist the urge to overly solidify our methods and practices. As both an artist and director I have found that by continually working with individuals and organizations outside my medium the creative process is always new and in turn keeps the organization adept at change.

What are some practices that you engage in to keep your artistic organization agile and connected to your community?