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Locals mourn closing of Downtown Artery music venue, cafe

The Downtown Artery, an Old Town gallery, café and music venue, announced through a Salt Magazine article on Sept. 12 that it will be closing its first-floor venue and café on Nov. 1.

The Flower bed in front of the Downtown Artery with sign in background
The Downtown Artery will be closing its doors on Nov. 1, 2019. The Artery is located in Old Town Fort Collins and is host to several music, comedy and art events. The Artery has a few more events planned through October. (Gregory James | Collegian)

After nearly four years, the Downtown Artery is opting to not renew its downstairs lease with the building’s owners, Project 252, LLC, owned by Waypoint Real Estate, LLC, which acquired the building in May of this year for $3.6 Million, according to the Coloradoan.


Though the venue and cafe will close on Nov. 1, the Artery’s current lease for the space will not end until Dec. 31.

“I’ve been going to the Artery for a good two years now,” said Angelica Vidal, Colorado State University health and human sciences major. “I was introduced to the Artery when I first came to CSU. I was a transfer, so I met a lot of good people. … I’d honestly be willing to throw money into a fund if possible to keep it from closing.”

The last show at the Downtown Artery will be Brick + Mortar as part of their “What Matters Most?” tour featuring Dentist and Silver & Gold on Oct. 19 as of their current calendar.

Originally starting as a house gallery, the Artery moved into the upstairs gallery space at 252 Linden St. in 2013. The gallery expanded downward two years later into the music venue and café portions of the business. The announcement on the Downtown Artery Facebook page was met with an outpouring of sadness.

“You know, it is really sad, … but I’ve been around long enough to see things close and shut down and start and stop which is unfortunate, but it is the way things go,” said AJ Frankson, lead singer of local band Janet Earth, who recently played during the Artery’s Heck House Takeover. 

Downtown Artery downstairs manager Mike Adams confirmed that the venue and café had not been financially viable for a long time.

“It was kind of the plan all along for the downstairs to close eventually,” Adams said. “This (the purchase of the building by Project 252, LLC) is just the catalyst that made it happen.”

Adams confirmed multiple financial factors and struggles contributed to the decisions to close the downstairs.

You know what rent is like in Old Town; it’s hard for really anybody’s business to make it out here,” Adams said. “There were obviously a lot of factors. Nothing this big happens for one reason, but that was definitely a big part of it.”

Kent Bradley, a co-founder of the Artery, emphasized wanting to return to the Artery’s roots and stressed that although the music venue and café would no longer be a part of the business, the Artery would stick to its core value of providing a space for artists. 


“We haven’t changed our mission statement,” Bradley said. “It’s exactly the same: … provide a place for creativity to occur and allow the community to have access to that creativity.”

The Artery is one of my favorite venues out of all of them. … Just the fact that they focus on so many types of art is super encouraging for me.” -Aj Frankson

Bradley also stated that the decision was partially motivated by wanting to put a greater emphasis on supporting local visual artists, and they offered the sentiment that there are already so many music venues in Fort Collins.

“From my point of view, I don’t think we’re hurting the community at large for deciding not to have access to this music because there’s plenty of venues out there,” Bradley said. “But what we do need is a space for artists to hone their craft. Therefore, we have that visual space.”

But not everyone agrees that there are too many venues.

“I think that is crazy,” Frankson said. “The first thing that drew me in the door to the Artery was concerts and shows and just the fact that they provided a platform for both local and touring musicians to perform. The Artery is one of my favorite venues out of all of them. … Just the fact that they focus on so many types of art is super encouraging for me.”

Ty Davis can be reached at or Twitter @tydavisACW.

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