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Performance art group takes silly seriously to bring joy to seniors

The 40 West Arts District received a $9,000 grant from the AARP to connect multigenerational communities through art.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — To justify time and effort, people need something important enough to make it worthwhile.

In a Lakewood warehouse off Colfax, the group ‘Handsome Little Devils’ spends time on details that some might find trivial.

“It’s like almost ridiculous how much we put into it,” said Cole Huling, the performance art group’s artistic director.

On Wednesday afternoon, they put together mobile stages for a socially distanced and masked performance complete with a bathtub and Victorian living room on wheels.

The main attraction is a giant blow-up squid.

“This is very silly and it’s very frivolous, but it’s done with a much higher intention and that intention I think is what resonates,” said Huling. “And there’s an authenticity to that.”

Credit: KUSA

That higher intention comes from who they do the work for and why.

The 40 West Arts District, which the Handsome Little Devils is a part of, received a $9,000 grant from the AARP to help connect multi-generational communities through art.

“I get emotional every time we talk about this stuff,” said Huling. “So my mom is a nurse and she runs a facility in California and I think that’s really brought it close to my heart what our senior citizens are dealing with. They’ve been on the strictest lockdown in all senior communities because they’re the most high-risk population.”

Although each performer wears a clown nose, frivolous is not to be confused with meaningless.

Credit: KUSA

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On Wednesday night, they are ‘joy bombing’ the Residences at Creekside, a senior and affordable housing building in Lakewood.

“It was awesome, very awesome,” said Helen Mossman, a 66-year-old resident. “We needed this uplifting with all of this stuff with the virus going on and everything. And a lot of my friends here have been real depressed.”

Credit: KUSA

Huling and her group get weird glances on the streets as their mobile stage moves across Lakewood, but if weird gets a smile then it’s working.

“These people have been isolated more than anyone else in this pandemic and they will continue to be more isolated than everybody,” said Huling.

The Handsome Little Devils will be performing on Friday night in Englewood. Anyone who wants to attend must reserve a parking to ensure social distancing.

>Click here for more information on reserving a parking spot.

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