Colorado artists and arts organizations urged to apply for state relief funds

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With a state grant, contemporary ballet company Wonderbound will be able to renovate its new location in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood. Lawmakers hope more arts organizations and artists will follow his lead and apply for the funding still available.

The warehouse space – previously the artist studio of Denver-based sculptor Ed Dwight – will include a 250-seat theater, two rehearsal studios, offices, a set store and a costume store, according to a statement. Colorado Creative Industries online.

Wonderbound’s $ 750,000 award under the Community Revitalization Grant program will also enable it to provide programs to underserved youth and homeless people, the statement said.

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Colorado state lawmakers, who made the funding available through legislation passed this year, hosted an event Thursday at the ballet company to announce the first four recipients of community revitalization grants and encourage more groups to to apply.

“The Community Revitalization Grants program is intended to… invest funds in great organizations like Wonderbound that can support and provide arts and culture in communities, particularly in underserved communities,” said the Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, a Democrat from Boulder, at the event. “The other projects are just as exciting and very diverse.

The other three initial recipients of the Community Revitalization Grant include:

• FreshLo Hub, a mixed-use project in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood that received a $ 5 million award and will include affordable apartments, a grocery store and a cultural center
• The St. Cloud Hotel in Cañon City, where a $ 3 million grant will fund a restoration project that includes space for artists and musicians
• Space to Create, an affordable housing and community space project in historic downtown Ridgway, funded in part with a $ 2 million grant

Colorado Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg speaks to Wonderbound, a contemporary ballet company in Denver, about the company receiving a grant from the Community Revitalization Grants program Status, October 7, 2021. Listening is, from left, representatives Susan Lontine, Brianna Titone, Leslie Hérode and Adrienne Benavidez. (Quentin Young / Colorado Press Line)

This year, Senate Bill 21-252 – sponsored by Fenberg and Senatorial Minority Leader Chris Holbert, County of R-Douglas, as well as Representatives Brianna Titone, D-Arvada and Susan Lontine, D-Denver – included at least $ 41.6 million for community revitalization grants in the current fiscal year and $ 20.8 million next year. The bill, which Governor Jared Polis signed into law on June 16, was part of the legislative leaders’ Colorado Comeback economic stimulus package.

Under the bill, community revitalization grants help for-profit businesses, nonprofits, and local governments pay for the construction or redevelopment of shopping centers. Funds are prioritized for projects that facilitate a creative mix of uses, such as live workspaces for artists, performance spaces, and community event venues. Colorado Creative Industries is still accepting applications for the current funding period.

At Thursday’s event, Democratic lawmakers also highlighted another state stimulus bill they passed in hopes of bringing relief to artists hit by the pandemic. Bill 21-1285 was sponsored by Representatives Adrienne Benavidez, D-Denver, and Leslie Herod, D-Denver, as well as Senators Sonya Jaquez Lewis, D-Boulder County, and Janet Buckner, D-Aurora, and were promulgated. June 14.

“The arts mean so much to people, especially when they grow up in it, they are exposed to it,” said Benavidez, after mentioning his daughters’ connection to dance. “It’s something that not only sustains our lives, but our cultures.”

HB-1285 contributed $ 15.5 million to the Arts Relief Program for the current fiscal year. Arts organizations such as independent concert halls and community theaters as well as individual artists, dancers and musicians are eligible to apply for a grant. Individuals applying for arts assistance grants may be eligible for up to $ 4,000 if they have faced extreme financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations can request up to $ 200,000.

Past recipients of arts assistance grants include the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and Z2 Entertainment, which operates concert halls in Boulder and Fort Collins.


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