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CU graduate Griffin Hardy merged his Gilt Edge Creamery with Watts Blue Ribbon Dairy in 1927. By 1960 the Watts-Hardy Dairy was only one of two dairies remaining in Boulder and in 1971 opened a new milk processing facility at 26th & Walnut, which quickly became the popular destination in Boulder for great ice cream.

Twelve years later Watts-Hardy sold its facility to the Sinton Dairy which wanted to expand beyond its Colorado Springs roots. However, the dairy closed its doors after only four years of operation and in 1987 a group of artists in Boulder got permission from Sinton to start using the plant for local performances and events.

The concept of repurposing the historic dairy facility was born and in 2000 the City of Boulder bought the property and leases the space to The Dairy Arts Center for $1 per year. The performance theaters, art galleries, and events lobbies of today were constructed or improved in 1999, and in 2010 the Boedecker arts cinema was opened as the newest addition to The Dairy.

The Dairy is a unique venue for performances, special events, gallery exhibitions, films, and lectures, and houses Boulder’s premier ballet and music schools. The Dairy produces a variety of presentations and productions such as the popular Comedy Night. It is also home to 11 arts organization offices.

Boulder attorney Bruce Dierking summed it up well, “The Dairy exists to connect people and enliven our spirit in a way like no other place in town.”

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