In early summer, word went out to Colorado’s arts organizations announcing nine regional review panels across the state would consider applications for “Colorado Creates” grants. In fiscal year 2012-13, 133 grants totaled $1,048,500; for 2013-14, 150 grants were announced on Sept. 23, totaling $1,125,000.
The state arts agency, Colorado Creative Industries, serves both large and small communities, and organizations from Arapahoe and Douglas counties were included in the new awards.
Margaret Hunt, director of Colorado Creative Industries, said: “These grants support the artists and creative entrepreneurs who are critical to Colorado’s economy. There are over 186,000 jobs in our state’s creative sector, making it the fifth-largest employment cluster.”
Funding comes from a combination of state money, budgeted by the legislature, as a matching grant for National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) funds.
“This year shows a nice state increase,” Hunt said. “We had been severely cut back.” Panelists, who are from the state’s arts community, are happy to be able to fund more projects, she said.
On Aug. 20, Arapahoe and Douglas county organization representatives, as well as applicants from Jefferson, Boulder and Adams counties, met with a panel at the Daniels Fund offices in Denver at scheduled intervals to ask for either operating support or project support.
Grants ranged from $4,000 to $10,000, for activities taking place between Oct. 1, 2013, and Sept. 30, 2014. Over 50 percent of funds are awarded outside of the Denver metro area.
• Arapahoe County grantees:
Arapahoe Philharmonic — $6,500
Cherry Creek Chorale — $6,500
City of Aurora Cultural Services — $10,000
Colorado Humanities — $10,000
Downtown Aurora Visual Arts — $7,500
Littleton Children’s Chorale (Young Voices) — $7,500
Littleton Town Hall Arts Center — $10,000
Vintage Theatre Productions — $7,500
• Douglas County grantees:
City of Lone Tree, Lone Tree Arts Center — $10,000
The Wildlife Experience — $10,000
Town of Parker Cultural Division — $10,000
A complete list for the entire state is available online at coloradocreativeindustries.org. Colorado Creative Industries is a division of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
A 2008 study, commissioned by the NEA, showed 186,251 jobs in the state associated with creative enterprises and creative occupations. Employee earnings, including benefits, were $5 billion. An NEA-commissioned study also found that Colorado ranks fifth among all states for concentration of artists. Creative industries are divided into six subgroups: design, film and media, heritage, literary and publishing, performing arts, and visual arts and crafts.