Art Students League of Denver

200 Grant Street

Art Student League of Denver

One hundred and twenty-five years ago, an eccentric architect with a dubious reputation designed this building as a public school under then-mayor Robert Speer’s “City Beautiful” campaign. Today, the building still acts as a school, but now houses a nonprofit artist community of teachers and students modeled after the Art Students League of New York.

Henry Dozier dabbled unsuccessfully in multiple professions, possessed a documented criminal record, and had a large family of nine children that he was accused more than once of neglecting. As an architect, however, Dozier was skilled, respected and proficient, designing many respected buildings, mostly across the American West. The Sherman School building, that now houses the Art Students League of Denver (ASLD), is one of just a few of his works that survives in Denver. As a public school originally, it embodied the ideals of the City Beautiful movement that swept America around the turn of the 20th century, seeking to create a more harmonious and virtuous society through the use of grand civic architecture and high aesthetic designs.

The school is an example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture, as evidenced by the large semicircular arches, rustic stone façade and contrasting colors in the masonry. It is a three-story building, square in shape, sitting at the corner of East 2nd Avenue and Grant Street across from a community garden in a residential neighborhood. The exterior is red brick in a running bond with heavy accenting in sandstone. Orange Manitou sandstone forms a large base at ground level and decorative bands of it run the full perimeter of the building, doubling as lintels and sills for windows. More finely dressed stone is used at the front façade to form the large entry arch that faces west towards Grant Street. Corinthian pilasters decorate the entry and the windows above it, and carved stone pieces highlight accents and window mullions across the front façade. Windows are large and arched with transom glass on the first floor. They are configured as double windows of taller rectangles on the lower level and upper floor. The roof is a shallow hip, punctured by four chimneys, with pronounced eaves accented with dentils. The site also includes an outbuilding, the annex, built in 1920 as a kindergarten, and a garden area on the north side of the main structure.

ASLD is a non-accredited, nonprofit, fine arts community center that nurtures lifelong growth through artistic expression. Their unique approach to teaching art is free of curriculum, encouraging students to explore their education without boundaries. They have served the community in this role for over 30 years.

References
About. Retrieved from https://asld.org/about.
Sherman Elementary School. Retrieved from https://www.historycolorado.org/location/shermanelementary-school.
Brantigan, C. O. (2016). Summary of Biographical Information Henry Dozier. Retrieved from http://www.drbrantigan.com/history/DOZIER%20public.pdf.

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