A weekend of open studios downtown marks the UCP's anniversary.

Scenes from Urban Culture Project's open-studios weekend 

A weekend of open studios downtown marks the UCP's anniversary.

Before the Sprint Center and the Power & Light District revitalized downtown, places like the now sparkling AMC Mainstreet were pigeon-filled husks of neglected architecture. Fifteen years ago, the Charlotte Street Foundation was among the first to take advantage of the area's empty spaces, using them for artists' studios and exhibitions. Today, you can look up at 906 Grand, the Town Pavilion at 11th Street and Walnut, and Main Street's City Center Square and know that artists are at work.

This year's residents — seven performance groups and 30 visual artists — opened their collective doors last weekend to welcome people curious about the mythos of "where art comes from" and to put on special performances. The open studios May 18 and 19, one of two such weekends each year, marked the end of the first phase of the Urban Culture Project's anniversary exhibition, The Frontier, at Paragraph and UCP Space. (UCP's Studio Residency Program, which has been going on since 2004, begins its next year in September; applications are due July 2.) The Pitch was there to see what a year's worth of free space yields. See more UCP open-studios photos at pitch.com.

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