Two all-ages music venues popular in the early 2000’s are set to reopen this year. The Division Avenue Arts Collective, or DAAC
, will be reopening in the Creston neighborhood in the coming months, while Skelletones
is planning to host its grand reopening Sept. 10 at its original location on South Division.
The DAAC opened its doors on South Division in 2003 as an all-ages music venue, art gallery and DIY project incubator “to provide a safe & neutral space for artistic expression, available to everyone regardless of age or other circumstance.” The collective of artists and musicians is volunteer-run and guided by a core committee of six creatives.
Similarly, Skelletones opened nearby next door to Vertigo, as an all-ages music venue for local punk and rock bands.
Both venues have always been open to all ages, a place for individuals to congregate, create art, play music and build community. Contrary to many bars and music venues, the DAAC and Skelletones are alcohol and substance free, which furthered its commitment to creating a welcoming and safe environment for young creators.
“I feel like on top of there not being any places for all ages, the places that are available are also usually centered around alcohol,” says Sal Moreno, core committee member of the DAAC. “It can exclude so many friends that are not drinking or smoking or participating in those things because it’s centered around [alcohol] and it makes it very hard to be welcoming and open to everyone. So I feel that having an all-ages, substance-free venue is important to families and the community because we won’t know what our community needs unless it’s including everyone’s voice.”
Grant Kammer was first introduced to the DAAC as a teenager, when he was looking for a place to complete his school’s required community service hours.
“It just kind of functioned as this necessary cultural community hub and I think that the local music scene wouldn't have been what it was without it and I know that because of how much it changed after the DAAC and Skelletones both closed down.”
Skelletones closed in 2009 and the DAAC closed its doors in 2013 after the building was sold by its landlord. Kammer says the music scene went from being very open and democratic to either moving back underground with bands having to play house shows in basements or moving mainstream to bars or other music venues, such as the Pyramid Scheme, which opened in 2011. These spaces, however, don’t always have the accessibility for bands or patrons of all ages.
“As a kid, when I was growing up, there weren’t any kind of resources like [the DAAC] in my hometown,” says core committee member Kyle Brand. “I had no idea how and where to look for resources or even find other like-minded creative kids. But if something like the DAAC existed there then, it may have helped foster my creativity and possibly even shown other kids that there are less dangerous outlets and opportunities to participate in and feel comfortable in.”
Inside the DAAC's new space
The DAAC and Skelletones have been the home to many young artists and musicians looking to find community and share their talents. The DAAC’s new space is much larger, providing the opportunity to host a variety of programming including live music and art shows, such as workshops and increased youth and community offerings, in addition to being a place for local community meetings and fundraisers.
“Personally, what I'm looking forward to is just a much more open and collaborative creative culture in my community,” Kammer says. He wants kids to have the same kind of place that he had growing up: “a place to be creative, a place to participate in culture.”
You can follow updates at thedaac.org or skelletones.com or via social media.