BizBeat: Foothills Art Center breaks ground on Astor House gallery space

Corinne Westeman
Posted 6/2/22

Golden’s historic Astor House will be vacant no more.

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BizBeat: Foothills Art Center breaks ground on Astor House gallery space


Golden’s historic Astor House will be vacant no more.

The former boarding house museum, which has been unused for about six years, was purchased last year by Foothills Art Center for gallery space.

On May 29, art center members, elected officials and others broke ground on the $4.2 million project to renovate and expand the historic building at 822 12th St.

The Foothills Art Center at Astor House is scheduled to open to the public in August 2023, executive director Hassan Najjar said.

Meanwhile, the center’s current headquarters at 809 15th St. will become the Foothills Art Center Creative Campus with dozens of studios and classrooms.

“That just seemed like the best way to divide those two buildings up,” Najjar continued. “ … It’s going to end up being a really good choice for us.”

Najjar said FAC will host events at the 1871 church building through March 2023 when renovation work is scheduled to start. At that time, events will be on hold, but FAC plans to host programs and classes in the church building.

About 80 people attended the May 29 groundbreaking, with Najjar saying it demonstrates how “our community is ready for the Astor House to come back online.”

The 1867 building has a lot of character, he described, as it survived multiple fires and was patched back together. So, the design team used some creative problem-solving “to unravel that puzzle a little bit,” Najjar added.

The fundraising campaign is close to the $4.2 million price tag — only $300,000 short as of June 1. However, FAC went ahead with construction as prices were rising.

“There’s no loans involved in this,” he said, clarifying that it’s all donations. “ … It’s a great trust that people have put into this.”

For more information or to donate, visit

Dinosaur Ridge has eye-catching projects planned amid very busy summer

While 2021 was Dinosaur Ridge’s busiest year ever, staff and volunteers believe 2022 could top it.

With “Jurassic World: Dominion” hitting theaters June 10, staff’s anticipating a visitation boom as people want to learn more about dinosaurs.

“It’s happened every time a dinosaur movie comes out,” Friends of Dinosaur Ridge’s Kristen Kidd said of increased visitation. “ … People want to know whether the dinosaurs in the movie lived here. Not all of them, but quite a few.”

Additionally, Dinosaur Ridge visitors will have a better view of some fossils and imprints later this year. The site is building a staircase and platform of its Crocodile Creek section on the east side of the ridge.

Manufacturing is complete, so Dinosaur Ridge just needs permits for installation, Kidd confirmed. The project, which has been in the works for about seven years, required fundraising $250,000.

Nearby, Dinosaur Ridge installed a multicolored geometric-shaped eolambia statue on May 14. The statue was created and donated by Golden artists Pat Madison and Jim Dickson after the Friends of Dinosaur Ridge reached out to them.

“We love dinosaur art,” Kidd said, adding that the eolambia was an herbivore that lived in Colorado. “It was very cool of them to make this dinosaur and donate it to us.”

Similarly, Dinosaur Ridge has hired local muralist Julia Williams to paint the trailhead information kiosk/storage shed for downtown Golden’s Triceratops Trail.

The trail, which starts along the U.S. Highway 6 path near the 19th Street exit, is a hidden gem with fossils younger than the ones on Dinosaur Ridge, Kidd described.

The mural work should start in July and will raise awareness about the trail.

To plan a visit to Dinosaur Ridge this summer, Kidd encouraged people to check out tour options, events and programs at


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