Twenty-two artists and organizations split $480,000 in grants this year.
The Arts in Society grants take philanthropic funding to a new level, adding a component of community service to the traditional criteria for rewarding creative excellence.
In other words, the recipients need to be good and do good at the same time.
How they accomplish that — and get a piece of the $480,000 up for grabs — is only limited by their own inventiveness. Arts in Society takes a broad view of both art and social needs.
This year’s 22 grantees have varied practices: film, podcasts, visual arts, storytelling, dance and more.
And they serve individuals and communities across a wide spectrum: immigrants, veterans, youth, the homeless, refugees, the disabled, teen parents, the mentally ill, minority groups and others.
The grants, now in their second year, combine the resources of institutions well-known for their support of culture in Colorado, the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries and Hemera Foundation. They are administered by the RedLine arts center in Denver.
Applications are vetted by an 11-member panel that evaluates grantees “ability to illustrate artistic excellence, broaden the understanding of the role arts play in society, demonstrate cross-sector work, exhibit cultural relevance, foster community engagement, and present opportunities for shared learning,” according to the program’s literature.
In announcing the grants last week, Bonfils Foundation President and CEO, Gary Steuer put it this way: “We know the arts can help foster community health and wellness, create opportunities and positive outcomes for youth, veterans, immigrants and seniors, and help the voiceless find their voice,”
This year’s list also covers a lot of geography, with winners stretching across the state.
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance
Reimagining the Noel Resolution
To utilize the artistic process to engage policy makers, students, and corporations in a series of Equity Boot Camps that will, in turn, inform a performance series.
Youth on Record
Youth on Record Fellowship: Equipping the next generation of arts leaders
To engage 15-20 young people in an intensive, 10-month, personal, professional and artistic development Fellowship program.
UndocuAmerica Radio and Performance Project
To present professional, autobiographical monologues written and performed by undocumented leaders about the challenges facing them and their families through theater, radio/podcasts, and film.
To market and distribute "Document Ed," a documentary film project created by high-school-student filmmakers about people in Colorado who are living in sanctuary to avoid deportation.
Art Students League of Denver
ART in PRISON
To provide visual arts education workshops to offenders in four Colorado correctional facilities, including Denver Women's Facility, the Colorado Correctional Center in Golden, and the Youthful Offender System in Pueblo.
Colorado Photographic Arts Center
Veterans Workshop Series
To provide 10-12 Denver veterans with advanced photographic education, portfolio development, and exhibition experience.
Mancos Creative District
#weallbelong - an arts-inspired community dialogue on immigration, inclusive community and belonging
To utilize film, storytelling, and visual arts to engage the Mancos County community in a deeper dialogue around inclusivity and belonging.
Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center
War of the Flowers
To produce a series of artistic responses and a culminating theatrical performance in Brighton, Colorado commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Kitayama Carnation plant strike.
Denver Homeless Out Loud
To address the critical need for storage experienced by homeless individuals by creating and installing artistically and floral adorned public lockers in Denver.
Atlantis Community, Inc.
Denver Disability Rights Conversation & Historic Gallery
To create an accessible and educational permanent gallery exhibition that will increase awareness around the social and political history of the disability community.
ArrayParity: Restyling mental illness through the self-emblematic, an apparel campaign for equal treatment
To bring a voice to those who struggle with mental illness through collaboratively designed imagery, logos, and aphorisms for print on apparel to disrupt negative perceptions of mental illness.
Lone Tree Arts Center
Sensory Friendly Initiative: Arts for Everyone
To provide inclusive programming and sensory-friendly performances for individuals with intellectual, developmental, and sensory disabilities and their families.
Denver Indian Family Resource Center
Culture Night for American Indian and Alaska Native Families
To provide an opportunity for Denver's American Indian and Alaska Native families to learn and share about the origin of cultural traditions through monthly Culture Nights.
The Latino Folk Art Garden
To give voice to the history and lore of Latinos in the Roaring Fork Valley through a creative placemaking project.
Huajatolla Heritage Project
To preserve and share the rich and diverse cultural contributions of Native American and Hispano people through community workshops and an annual Huajatolla Heritage Festival.
Youth Employment Academy: Arts Street@YEA
Creating Unity: A creative journey on immigration in America (A Journey to Unity)
To engage youth in the La Alma/Lincoln Park and Globeville neighborhoods of Denver in creative projects to explore the potential to change negative opinions about immigration.
Jennifer Jacklin Stratton
To elevate resources and voices of teen mothers through a participatory storytelling and mentorship project.
Aurora Cultural Arts District
The ACADIA Project (TAP)
To provide resources to immigrant and refugee artists and creatives in Aurora through a small business artistic mentorship program.
The Liberty Rural Learning Cooperative, Grassroots Community Center
The Prairie Writer's Workshop: Applied Rural Arts Program
To provide resources to immigrant and refugee artists and creatives in the Aurora through a small business artistic mentorship program.
Check Your Head
Check Your Head
To bring trauma-informed instruction and wellness protective factors to youth through creative projects that will be completed in collaboration with community-based organizations.
Salida Circus Outreach Foundation
Circus Arts for the Underserved
To increase self-confidence, healthy risk-taking, and peer support through circus arts workshops for students of Crestone and Moffat Schools.
Partners Youth Mentoring of Delta, Montrose and Ouray
Art Partners Mentoring
To provide a professionally-supported mentoring program for artists to guide, instruct and lead youth in artistic endeavors and expand creative capacities.