July Legislative Update

Arts for Colorado played a very active role at the capitol this year alongside lobbyist Brandeberry-McKenna. The current level of funding for the Colorado Creative Industries division was successfully maintained at its current level for the 2017-2018 year as there were no public discussions of any cuts to the budget. As the budget climate tightens due to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), Arts for Colorado will actively be involved in the budget process for next year. TABOR is a constitutional amendment designed to restrain growth in government. TABOR places limits on how much revenue the state can keep and spend, sometimes forcing lawmakers to make budget cuts. To find more information on TABOR, please visit here.

Brandeberry-McKenna, on behalf of Arts for Colorado, actively engaged with and supported three pieces of legislation this session.

SB17-107 (Reward Access To Arts Education In Public Schools) was sponsored by Senator Michael Merrifield and Representative Barbara McLachlan. This bill would have created an additional performance indicator that measured the degree to which more »

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Message from Arts for Colorado President – Save the NEA

On March 16th, the Trump administration released a proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year where President Trump recommends the elimination of the National Endowment of the Arts.

Arts for Colorado is diligently working with Americans for the Arts (AFTA), Colorado Creative Industries (CCI), and the Arts Action Fund. Now is the time to stand with Arts for Colorado. Your membership is needed more than ever to assist in this endeavor. To learn more about how you can help save the NEA, please view the list below (click on the sections to be directed to more information).

Sincerely, Dr. Jay Seller President, Arts for Colorado


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December Legislative Update

The election has come to a close with leadership for the Colorado General Assembly finalized and ready to begin work in January 2017. The General Assembly is the bicameral state legislature of the State of Colorado composed of the Colorado House of Representatives and the Colorado Senate.

All 65 seats in the Colorado House and half of the Colorado Senate seats were up for re-election this upcoming year. Democrats had controlled the Colorado House with a 34-31 majority the last two years. Republicans had controlled the Senate with an 18-17 majority. Now, Democrats still hold the majority of the House by 37-28 and the Colorado Senate remains in Republican control with a makeup of 18 Republicans and 17 Democrats.

Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) will lead the House Democrats as Speaker of the House and Representative KC Becker (D-Boulder) as Majority Leader. Senator Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City) will lead the Senate Republicans as President with Majority Leader Chris Holbert (R-Parker). Senator Lucia Guzman (D-Denver) will continue serving as Senate Minority Leader with Senator Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) as Assistant Minority Leader. more »

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September Legislative Update

The election season is in full swing in Colorado. Arts for Colorado encourages all advocates to stay informed with the latest Colorado ballot measures and legislation. The following are the approved Colorado ballot measures for 2016:

Colorado Creation of ColoradoCare System, Amendment 69 Statewide Healthcare System: Seeks to create a new single-payer health care financing system called ColoradoCare that operates as a political subdivision of the state. Colorado “End of Life Options Act,” Proposition 106 Proposition 106 would legalize “Medical Aid in Dying” (MAID) in the state of Colorado for competent adults whose death is likely to occur in the next 6 months from a terminal illness. Colorado $12 Minimum Wage, Amendment 70 Amendment 70 would raise the State Minimum Wage to $9.30 per hour with a $.90 an hour increases every January 20th thereafter until it hits $12 per hour. After that the minimum wage would increase annually along with the cost-of-living. Colorado Imposition of Distribution and Supermajority Requirements for Citizen-Initiated Constitutional Amendments, Amendment 71  Amendment 71 would make it more difficult to amend the state constitution by requiring more »

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Dr. Steven Tepper: Bigger Than Me

On May 23, Arts for Colorado had the distinct pleasure of hosting Dr. Steven Tepper’s “Bigger than Me” lecture at the Center for Visual Art at Metro State University Denver on Santa Fe on the intersection of art and the economy, and history of how we teach the arts. Dr. Tepper is the Dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.

“Two defining experiences have long informed Tepper’s work.After drawing a still life during a high school arts class, Tepper felt confident with his technical prowess, but noticed his boot, vase, and book looked far different than those of his classmates. “I’m not an artist; I’m not drawing weird things,” Tepper recalls thinking at the time. “A seed of doubt was planted.”

He entered college still considering a career in the arts where he encountered a professor who didn’t believe in grading art. Instead, he gave every student a ‘C’ grade, believing real artists shouldn’t care about grades.”That,” says Tepper, “was the last art class I ever took.”

Tepper believes that art and design more »

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Six New Colorado Creative Districts

Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) and the Boettcher Foundation announced the certification of six new Creative Districts into the Colorado Creative Districts Program on June 16, 2016. The new Creative Districts are Breckenridge Arts District, Carbondale Creative District, Crested Butte Creative District, Fort Collins Creative District, Golden Triangle Creative District and Mancos Creative District.

In Corey Jones’s article, Colorado’s Six New “Creative Districts” Will Share $240K From the State, he states that the Colorado Creative Districts Program “rewards communities like these across the state that have made big strides to support their artists and creative businesses.” One of the benefits of being a part of the program is that the Creative Districts will share $240,000 from the state, which “come[s] from gambling funds, provides general financial support and also cover[s] the cost of other needs like technical and marketing assistance as well as leadership training.”

With the Boettcher Foundation no longer providing funds to the Creative Districts, Colorado Creative Industries has had to strategically disperse the funds. Jones interviewed Colorado Creative Industries Director Margaret Hunt, who said, “As the number more »

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Colorado Attorneys for the Arts (CAFTA)

Colorado Attorneys For The Arts

Our local quality of life, regional economic development and national reputation relies on a vibrant creative sector. Colorado Business Committe for the Arts (CBCA) advances Colorado’s creativity vitality by connecting business and the arts. The Colorado Attorneys for the Arts (CAFTA) which rolled out across the state in 2015 is a program of the CBCA and is a pro bono legal referral service, connecting creative entities to volunteer lawyers.

CAFTA enables qualifying creative individuals and groups to receive pro bono legal support. Legal advice is critical for all business success, including creative enterprises. However, many arts professionals cannot afford market rate legal services. By matching artists with volunteer attorneys, they can focus on what they do best: make art. Volunteer attorneys address the arts community’s legal issues by lending their expertise. CAFTA provides a unique community service and professional development opportunity for law firms and their attorneys. Colorado’s creative vitality depends on the success of our artists. CAFTA partners with the legal community to boost artists’ career growth and self-sufficiency. A thriving, professional arts community results in more »

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The Mouse That Roared – An Arts Advocacy Success Story

You may be familiar with the expression or even the story The Mouse That Roared (1955) where in every episode of the story, you find the small Duchy of Grand Fenwick in situations that were absurd or outlandish, where they faced superpowers and won. If you haven’t heard of the story, let me relate a small Colorado scenario for you.

You see, the membership of Arts for Colorado can immediately relate to the challenges facing small voices and the need for our opinions to be heard on the Capitol steps and in the halls of the Colorado House and Senate.

Recently, we brought in citizens and students who spoke eloquently about their passion for the arts, and gathered at Arts Advocacy Day (3/2/2016) in Denver.

The day started with coffee to fight off the chill of late winter, as we witnessed an advocacy sketch prepared by the student leadership of Colorado State Thespians. We then heard from Jennifer Mello, lobbyist with Brandeberry McKenna Public Affairs, and AnnMarie Jensen, from Jensen Associates. They shared the dos and don’ts for more »

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Meet Amir Jackson – Keynote Speaker for Arts Advocacy Day 2016

Arts Advocacy Day 2016 is only a few days away! We had the opportunity to interview our keynote speaker, Amir Jackson, of Nurture the Creative Mind. Read ahead to get a sneak peak of what he’ll be talking about at Arts for Colorado’s Arts Advocacy Day 2016!


Registration for Arts Advocacy Day 2016 closes February 28th! Click here to register!


Can you please give me a brief overview of your work in the arts?

In 2007 I founded the nonprofit organization ‘Nurture the Creative Mind.’ The organization empowers young people and helps them establish self-value, while developing marketable skills. Since our conception we have positively impacted more than 10,000 youth within and outside of the state of Utah. I was also selected as a Change Leader in the Arts by the Utah Department of Arts and Museums and participated WESTAF’s Emerging Leaders of Color program in 2015. Art is wrapped up in my life’s purpose and plays a role in my everyday life by molding how I view and navigate the world around me.

Please share some accomplishments of your more »

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Arts Advocacy Day 2016 – Registration is now open!

Arts Advocacy Day Agenda 2016


Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016


7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.


First Baptist Church

1373 Grant Street

Denver, CO 80203

(14th Avenue and Grant Street)


Parking for a fee is located at:

1277 Logan Street

Denver, CO 80203


1416 Grant Street

Denver, CO 80203

Schedule of Activities:


7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.

Miller Hall, First Baptist Church

Breakfast and introductions with Majority Leader Crisanta Duran

8:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.

The day will kick off with a continental breakfast and introductions from Majority Leader Crisanta Duran. She will talk about her focus on personal connections to the arts and why it is important for arts advocates to build relationships with their elected officials.

Advocacy Training

Jennifer Mello, Brandeberry-McKenna Public Affairs

8:15 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

The session will be conducted by AFC lobbyist Jennifer Mello of Brandeberry-McKenna Public Affairs. Mello has played a leading role in securing public funding for the arts in Colorado. She has also worked on numerous bills designed to create more »

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