Denver’s Arthyve Asks Artists To Remix Historical Records

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Photo: 'From Touch I Learned' By Sarah Gjertson For Arthyve
Arthyve asked artist Sarah Gjertson to explore the Park County Local History Archives and the Isaac S. Smith Collection for this installation "From Touch I Learned" on display at Leon Gallery in Denver through Oct. 29, 2017.

Arthyve wants to capture parts of Colorado's culture before they're torn down or forgotten.

Jessie de la Cruz is an art archivist at Denver's Clyfford Still Museum. She says she sees limitations when it comes to whose work is represented in archives, and who has access. So de la Cruz channeled that awareness and her experience into a side project that's part activism, art and archive.

"Archives are kind of these repositories of power in many ways," she says. "I started questioning that power dynamic and which stories get omitted."

Photo: Jessie de la Cruz in Clyfford Still archive
Jessie de la Cruz is an art archivist for the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver.

Arthyve aims to highlight the importance of archiving and make the process more open for the public. The group will host workshops and help Colorado artists create time capsules that eventually will be housed in a permanent space.

De la Cruz tells Colorado Matters that she recently commissioned eight local artists to explore area archives and create art inspired by those experiences. The results range from poetry and music to photography collage.

The project culminates with an exhibition and a symposium titled "Archives as Muse" at Leon Gallery in Denver Wednesday night. The exhibition runs through October 29.