Denver Arts & Venues Announces 2018 Urban Arts Fund Grantees

Denver Arts & Venues Announces 2018 Urban Arts Fund GranteesDenver Arts & Venues is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Urban Arts Fund Grants as well as the second year of Urban Arts Fund: Engage.

2018 marks the 10th year of the Urban Arts Fund which was originally initiated as a graffiti prevention program, but was expanded in 2017 to encompass several extended programming partnerships connecting artists to the community. This group of immersion projects, known as Urban Arts Fund: Engage, focuses on community-building and social change.

"We are excited to see the Urban Arts Fund continue to grow and expand," said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, "The Urban Arts Fund: Engage projects are perfect examples of how Denver is dedicated to incorporating diversity, equity and inclusiveness values through our work."

The UAF: Engage projects are designed to more deeply involve local residents with the mural creation through several weeks of workshops and discussions.

"Through community partnerships, UAF: Engage supports our agency's diversity, equity and inclusiveness initiative. These efforts go beyond merely outreach," said Tariana Navas-Nieves, Denver Arts & Venues director of cultural affairs. "It's about commitment; it's about engagement; it's about amplifying the voices of the community."

Three UAF: Engage projects have been completed, with three more in the queue. In fall 2017, UAF partnered with Re-Imagining Arts Worldwide (RAW) bringing more than 30 local, national and International Artists to Denver to paint the exterior walls of Eagleton, Cowell and Fairview elementary schools. The UAF: Engage/RAW partnership was extended in 2018 to include Garden Place and Cheltenham elementary schools.

Also in fall 2017, UAF: Engage partnered with Denver Health Outpatient Behavioral Health Services (OBHS) to build several interior murals at the methadone clinic. This process involved several patients and staff members who worked on pieces of art during several workshops; these smaller pieces were later incorporated into larger murals by artist Frank Garza. The eight-week process was captured through photos and a blog written by photographer Lucia de Giovanni. This partnership will also be extended in 2018.

In early 2018, UAF: Engage partnered artist Bimmer Torres with several youth at Gilliam Youth Service Center who worked jointly to create murals thematically related to repair, relationships, respect and reintegration.

In addition to extending the RAW and OBHS partnerships in 2018, a third UAF: Engage project is planned at a local homeless shelter.

"The plan is to continue to engage youth and community and really start creating a dialogue," said Mary Valdez, Denver Public Art administrator and UAF: Engage project manager. "These projects say, 'hey, you're important to us.'"

Cheltenham Elementary School will be hosting a First Friday art walk tour Oct. 5, 5-7 p.m. to showcase the 25+ murals created through the 2018 UAF: Engage/RAW partnership.

Denver Arts & Venues' mission is to amplify Denver's quality of life and economic vitality through premier public venues, arts and entertainment opportunities. Arts & Venues is the City and County of Denver agency responsible for operating some of the region's most renowned facilities, including Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, the Denver Performing Arts Complex, Colorado Convention Center, Denver Coliseum and McNichols Civic Center Building. Arts & Venues also oversees the Denver Public Art Program, Create Denver, SCFD Tier III granting process, Arts Education Fund and other entertainment and cultural events such as the Five Points Jazz Festival, Urban Arts Fund, P.S. You Are Here and implementation of IMAGINE 2020: Denver's Cultural Plan. Denver Arts & Venues is committed to diversity, equity and inclusiveness in all our programs, initiatives and decision-making processes.,

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