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A Colorado Cannabis Company Sponsors The Arts, Helping A Community In Need

Wana Brands opens up an immersive art experience and pop-up shops in vacant Denver-area buildings.

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Colorado has seen its fair share of pandemic-inflicted closures over the last several months. While dispensaries and the cannabis supply-chains remained open, many community gathering spaces intertwined with the cannabis culture were shuttered.

Wana Brands

Now, a group of companies has rallied to transform three vacant properties in the Tennyson Shopping District in North Denver into an immersive arts destination with art activations, performances, and pop-up shops.

Dubbed “The Wana Art House Project," the event is named after the lead sponsor—infused-products giant Wana Brands. The project gives the community a socially-distanced place to gather, while also providing jobs for more than 20 artists and an outlet for entrepreneurs and small businesses to sell to the public. The space will be open from July 30 through August 22.

The Wana Art House Project is in part the brainchild of commercial property tech company Reactiv. As the pandemic has pushed up property vacancy and stalled redevelopment,  Reactiv is finding ways to bring novel usage and inject vibrancy into spaces that may otherwise be sitting empty.  

With the pandemic pausing the developer's plans for the three properties on the Tennyson Shopping District corridor, Reactiv saw an opportunity to temporarily use the space to bring the community together and create an outlet for small businesses and artists while future redevelopment plans for the properties were pursued. “The pandemic has challenged all of us to find new ways of connecting while remaining safe,” says Reactiv’s Activation Director Tim Sack. “With support from Wana Brands, we’ve transformed three vacant properties into a community destination, while providing jobs...We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from the neighborhood as they’ve watched the project take shape.” 

Giving back

Wana Brands says community building has always been central to its mission. That's why when company CEO Nancy Whiteman learned that this project would bring a vibrant interactive art experience back to Denver’s diverse Tennyson neighborhood, she was immediately on board.

“In the face of the pandemic, the cannabis industry was designated as an essential service by the state of Colorado. However, we know that many people, including artists and small business owners, are hurting as a result of recent shutdowns,” Whiteman says. “By participating as a lead sponsor on the Art House Project, we’re providing jobs and support for local artists and creative entrepreneurs while also giving back and creating a fun, socially-distanced experience for the community. Supporting our community truly is an essential service in these challenging times.”

The Wana Art House Project is made up of three properties with unique opportunities to engage:

Wana Beach House (4347 Tennyson) offers an immersive beach projection experience created by Lucia Visuals which showcases beautiful beaches from all over the world along with meeting space for community members. You can take your summer beach vacation vicariously through this intimate and stunning immersive art experience. And, for those that want to heightened sensory experience, Wana Brands says the exhibit pairs nicely with their Wana Quick Fast Acting Gummies.

Wana Art House (4345 Tennyson) features an interactive magical circus experience by Rainbow Militia’s Gnome Away from Home, with social-distanced groups encouraged to explore the rooms. The Art House is transformed into a four-sided mural by female artist muralists from Babe Walls. This exhibit is open Thursday through Sunday between 6:25 p.m. - 10 p.m. You can select your date and time block you would like to attend online. Tickets are $80 - $120 which covers up to 6 guests.  

Wana Club House (4353 Tennyson) is an event space for socially-distanced gatherings as well as a pop-up boutique with work for sale by artists and other local small businesses including Black Tiger Vintage, Wallis Jordan Design and Dr. Hemp Dog CBD. You’ll most certainly want to stock up on some ultra-hip home decor from Wallis Jordan Design and checkout Dr. Hemp Dog CBD for your pup. 

Bring your mask

The project organizers stress that safety is the exhibit’s top priority. All visitors are required to wear masks, and social-distancing measures will be in place. Participants are required to wear a mask in all experiences until they are seated at their private table which will be properly distanced. Flow through the Art and Beach Houses is single directional. In the Art House experience, guests never touch a surface as all access is controlled by the actors. Beach House guests enter through the open front and leave through the open rear door, also never having to touch anything.

Guests will also find a park-like atmosphere that has been created in front of the three properties feature picnic tables and grassy areas conducive to supporting the surrounding eateries that are open and offering takeout options. People will find a diverse set of cuisines nearby, including vegan-friendly options, Mexican and Italian to name a few. The restaurants in the area include Vital Root, Hops and Pie, Emporium Brewing, Fat Sully’s, El Chingon, Parisi, Swing Thai, and Wayback.

During the pandemic, we’ve seen tremendous creativity and resourcefulness of companies and people. The Wana Art House Project reminds us that supporting one another, supporting businesses, and fostering a sense of community in a safe way is also essential during these times.