Focusing on Old Colorado City, the Westside of Colorado Springs

Verve Art Market in Old Colorado City

August 10, 2012 Simon


Verve Art Market recently opened it doors in Old Colorado City next to Tibetan Arts and Crafts. The owner and artist Katherine Mondragon defines Verve as “the combination of the industrial with the earthen, with a hint of vintage, to set the stage for a mix of art that’s eclectic and funky, yet nice and palatable”.

Verve primarily caters to local artists as a mix of co-op and gallery, and supports the events in Old Colorado City including the Taste of Colorado” held recently in August and the Art Walk held on the first Friday of every month. They hope to do more events for community groups in the future including at risk youth and veterans. Currently they sell items made by disabled veterans, including dog tags, bags and bandanas recycled from old uniforms.

Katherine says Verve as a store, is constantly evolving, as new art or products come in. With no time for her own photography, she has found an unexpected release for her artistic expression in maintaining the balance of products and displays. A word that kept coming up from customers, and the many artists that visited the store during our interview, was “eclectic”. With over 30 artists displaying work in her store, you can find locally made textiles handbags, dog collars, tie dye , batik prints, hats, recycled military items, pottery, paintings, lots of jewelry and vintage and pre-owned items too.

Artists can rent the store for events, classes, or space to display their art. At the time of writing, space fees start at $50 a month for a part share of a space to 10×4 feet spaces for larger pieces with very favorable split fees. There are also consignment options again with very fair splits on the sale and a low selling fee. Katherine offers many different options to sell art, to fit the needs of both the artists and the store. If you’re an artist looking for an outlet or just a lover of locally produced art, Verve is definitely a place to check out. Hopefully you’ll see a few of my pictures for sale in there… if they don’t sell out super fast of course ;)

A lot of store owners in Old Colorado City consider locating in Manitou Springs, just a few miles up the road. Katherine was involved with an artists co-op based there, but decided to locate her business in Old Colorado City. Here’s is what she had to say about her decision.

“From a tourism stand point [Old Colorado City] is a good area to be in. There’s a lot of good parking here. When we were in Manitou the parking was just horrendous, which frustrated the customers to no end. Although we had a lot of customers and it was crowded, it’s very expensive to rent in Manitou. The congestion is unbearable and the City planning doesn’t seem to be doing much about it so [Old Colorado City] was already set up for tourism with events built in here. Another reason I decided to locate here, is there are events that I want to conduct here. This is a perfect place for the type of events that I would like to someday implement in Old Colorado City. With the historical nature and the tourism aspect I just thought is was a great place for Verve.”

Working directly with artists has been a positive experience for Katherine as without the help of local artists there would be no Verve. The small donation based cafe brings people and artists into the store and has made it a more social shopping experience. The coffee is good and strong too, I had to up my shutter speeds to compensate for the jitters! She was sure to say a big thanks to all who helped, particularly a disabled veteran artist named Fig. Katherine say if it wasn’t for him half the store would still be unfinished! His work is currently on display in the store.

With such strong ties to the local community and support for local artists, Verve is a welcome addition to the Westside. Thanks for choosing Old Colorado City!

Keep up with the evolution of Verve on Facebook or stop by the store for a coffee. Tell Katherine Westside Focus says hi!
(719) 351-7030

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Simon Andrews teachers photography classes and workshops at Colorado Photography School in his west side Colorado Springs photography studio, and writes/photographs for Westside Focus. If you'd like an article written about your west side business, need a photographer or would like a lesson in his Old Colorado City photo studio, call Simon on 719-502-9045 or email info(at)