- Associated Press - Monday, July 27, 2015

LOVELAND, Colo. (AP) - Colorado is investing in a $50 million plan to find affordable housing for artists in rural communities.

And the definition of artist is quite generous - including architects, craft beer brewers and liquor distillers.

The plan, announced Monday by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, carries an uncertain price tag. The program is a public-private partnership, but it’s not clear how much private foundations will pay and how much the state will cover, said Wendy Holmes of ArtSpace, an artist community in Loveland that will steer the new program.

The housing will be in nine rural communities, starting with Trinidad in southern Colorado. The other eight communities have not been chosen yet.

In order to qualify, artists will have to apply and meet income limits. Artists who qualify for housing can’t make more than 60 percent of their area’s median income.

There is no goal in mind for how many artists will receive hosing, said Holly Shrewsbury of the Office of Economic Development & International Trade.

The announcement was made at Artspace Loveland, which has 30 occupied units of housing for artists and their families. Artspace Loveland has a waiting list of over 100 individuals waiting for vacant units. The organization will oversee the Colorado program, called “Space to Create, Colorado.”

“Housing and economic development are vital needs in rural Colorado, and the Space to Create initiative advances both of these issues by harnessing the power of the public, private and philanthropic sectors, as well as the creative community, to activate historic spaces and elevate rural economies,” Hickenlooper said in a statement Monday.

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