I am particularly proud of all the work I’ve been able to do on behalf of Denver’s artists and art districts; I’m proud of the investments that have been made, from both public and private sources, in public art and culture. Still, there is much more to do.
There are so many reasons to value the arts. They give us stories of what it means to be alive. They give us new and different ways to think about the world around us and our place in it. They help heal us; they help enliven us; they help us grow. They challenge us to be better. And they help us understand one another.
But art doesn’t just happen. We must nurture new and young artists. We must weave art into every neighborhood. Murals and sculptures, with artists living where they work. We must remain vigilant that every Denver resident - including our children - have access to cultural resources, and that those cultural resources includes the entire, rich diversity of the city. The arts help us connect to all this richness, all this living that’s going on in Denver, and so it’s important that we showcase and support our creators. Great art is a reflection of a great Denver.
Not only that, investing in art and culture brings tangible results. Research from Los Angeles to New York, and throughout the world demonstrates that where there is public art, there is increased attachment and community pride. There is more stability; neighborhoods are valued more by their residents. Where there is available cultural enrichment, there is increased participation in social life. People care more, people are more connected to each other and their cities when they have art and culture in their lives. And that makes for a better, more beautiful Denver. As mayor, I will continue to support the arts and will commit to:
● Reviewing city zoning and building codes for relevance to existing and emerging artists needs, addressing the need to create nuanced categories to ensure creative work/live spaces, DIY artist spaces, artist collectives and others have an opportunity to be in safe, permitted spaces without overwhelming costs.
● Increase expectations for Arts & Venues to truly be a cultural leader for Denver and elevate Denver’s identity though the arts, with ambitious project and funding goals. This includes:
○ Reviewing the 1% for Art Program to increase and diversify eligibility for these funds citywide and push the envelope on the integration of public art into the public realm.
○ Explore models - as in San Francisco - for a 1% for Art Program for private sector developments.
○ Explore opportunities to invest in performing arts spaces and studios throughout Denver to ensure residents and families have access to the arts not just in Downtown Denver but in the neighborhoods where they live.
○ Truly support more creative interventions in the public realm by working with all departments in the City and County of Denver to integrate art into their policies.
● Work with Denver Public Schools to ensure access to arts education before, during and after school hours for our children, through partnerships with DPS but also our creative agencies around Denver, our parks and recreation centers and our libraries and our creative and cultural districts. We will also seek unique public/private partnerships to bring the arts back to our kids and communities.
● Support emerging artists and identify ways to elevate Denver’s local artists and arts scenes through promotion, business opportunities and storytelling, and through truly understanding and investing in what they need to thrive.
● Explore ways to provide housing and workspace subsidies for artists, including through a commitment to make an Artspace project happen in Denver.
● Examine future possibilities for improving the Denver Performing Arts Center and implementing the Next Stage plan. I am committed to maintaining the complex to be a state of the art creative and cultural center, anticipating new trends. I believe it is also a unique opportunity to incorporate the Denver School of the Arts and truly create an open learning laboratory for students and emerging artists.