A New Approach to Supporting Denver’s Arts District (2011-2012)

Ginger White Brunetti
Arts + Venues Denver

Arts + Venues Denver commissioned Centro Inc. to facilitate discussions and outreach with the City of Denver’s eight self-designated art districts in an effort to understand how the City could better support the growth and development of arts districts, and how it could facilitate stronger collaborative relationships amongst the districts. Specifically, this work aimed to: 

  • Engage the existing self-designated arts districts in a new way and provide learning opportunities and sharing of experiences between districts 
  • Explore models and best practices for arts district development nationwide to inspire Denver’s arts districts 
  • Identify shared and district-specific needs 
  • Identify areas for greater partnership with City agencies, quasi-governmental organizations and other relevant partners, where applicable  
  • Identify services/programs the City of Denver is uniquely capable of providing that compliment existing district-led efforts
  • Identify future opportunities to help expand the work and influence of the arts districts
  • Provide recommendations on a way forward to future planning and engagement with arts districts 

The engagement included focus groups, surveys, and research with each of the eight arts districts and discussions with City of Denver staff and leadership about tools, programs and resources to help support arts district development and growth, along with the identification of outside partners that could bring knowledge and resources to bear. The work culminated in the City of Denver’s first Arts District Summit held in November 2011 with more than 100 arts district stakeholders, City staff and leaders to discuss how best to advance the establishment of arts district and how to utilize art as a catalyst for economic development in neighborhoods. Implementation has begun and additional funding is currently being sought to implement these recommendations.