Mentoring

Below is an excerpt from Denver's plan. In it they provide context and explain things they learned from their community and their process. It provides useful, thought provoking information to the Brighton community in preparation for taking the survey. If you have taken it already, you may want to go to it again and express your new thoughts, perspectives. or questions.
Provided by the Culture Team 2014

Imagine 2020 - Vision, Goals and Strategies

Make it Easy to find out about Arts, Culture and Creativity
➽ Denverites want centralized information about arts, culture and creativity in Denver. This could be achieved through enhancements of current websites, such as Denver365.com. These sites can celebrate the richness of Denver’s offerings in arts, culture and creativity across neighborhoods, ethnic and cultural communities, ages and interests.

Foster Media Coverage

➽ The media play an important role in bringing information to the public. Insufficient “airtime” and critical reviews pertaining to the arts, especially in relation to other topics like sports, hinder community awareness and engagement. Both the city and media need to explore new technological opportunities for sharing information with Denver residents. Expanding arts, culture and creativity media that is resident-focused should help increase awareness of local happenings and events.

Create a Common Set of Messages for All Stakeholders

➽ Denver lacks a clear brand for arts, culture and creativity in Denver that can be broadcast nationally and internationally. Denver’s cultural brand identity needs to be focused and amplified. A clear identity and common messages would help direct local efforts and expand the city’s reputation regionally, nationally and internationally. A signature set of attributes could help to define the City. Imagine the power of one message, communicated consistently by the Mayor, VISIT DENVER, City Council, city agency leaders, chamber and business leaders, and arts organizations of all sizes and missions - and through numerous websites as well.

Promote Local Artistic and Creative Talent
➽ People who earn a living in arts, culture and creative industries dream that Denver could be home for numerous artistic and creative professionals with national and international reputations. The talent is here; it needs to be further showcased, nurtured and celebrated.

Our Strengths
Denver is known for its public art, downtown theatre district, arts and creative districts and indie music scene. The city is also home to hundreds of exciting activities happening in neighborhoods and in unexpected places. There is no lack of interest in or pursuit of creative happenings and artistic activities in Denver. When a resident or visitor wants to learn more about happenings around town, she or he can consult the Denver365.com website hosted by VISIT DENVER, the Denver Gallery Guide sponsored jointly by VISIT DENVER and A&V, hundreds of organizational websites, newspaper listings, or blog posts.

Denver residents understand the contribution that arts, culture and creativity make in enhancing the image that Denver presents to the world. In the scientific public survey conducted for IMAGINE 2020, more than 80 percent of respondents believed that arts, culture and creativity in Denver improve the city’s national reputation, attract tourism, and increase quality of life and livability. In 2010, the Downtown Denver Leadership Program published a report finding that Denver had many of the necessary resources to position itself as the “Creative Capital of the Rocky Mountain West.”

The residents of Denver and the surrounding metro area have repeatedly demonstrated how much they value arts within their community. The establishment and reauthorization of the SCFD is a prime example, but it is also visible through attendance numbers, philanthropic contributions, volunteering and vocal support. This overwhelming support for arts, culture and creativity forms a strong base from which Denver can position and differentiate itself on the national and international arts, cultural and creative scene.

Our Challenges
“We have the buzz already. We have a renaissance in the arts and culture world – need to expose it to more people and get everyone working together. Turn up the volume.” Community Leader interviewed for IMAGINE 2020

Although Denver has a wealth of amazing programs and events, communication about these events and programs to both local and broader audiences can be improved. There is a general lack of public awareness about the many artistic, cultural and creative happenings across the city. Events too often go unnoticed by the general public or are lightly attended. This challenge is more than a marketing issue – it’s about the shortage of arts-focused media and the lack of an easy-to-use, resident-focused online resource. For example, there is significant opportunity to market the Denver365.com website, a comprehensive online events calendar, to residents as well as tourists.

For the thousands of people who completed the public input tool for the cultural plan, the number one weakness identified was communication about events and programs, followed by media coverage and reviews of the arts. Additionally, more than 40 percent of scientific public survey respondents reported that a lack of information about events occurring in the city prevented them from participating with the arts, cultural and creative community in Denver. Even more African American and Hispanic respondents reported this lack of information as a barrier. Twenty-eight percent of survey respondents reported being unhappy with the amount of information they received about arts, cultural and creative events in Denver. The most common source that survey respondents used to get information about arts, cultural, and creative events in Denver was word of mouth and/or family and friends (83 percent), which suggests that who you know determines most of what you know about cultural programs in Denver.

Media coverage is already improving with the 2013 grant from the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation to Colorado Public Radio for funding of a new arts bureau, a donation which reflected how valuable information about arts, culture and creativity is to Colorado residents. Other current sources that could be further maximized include the Denver 365 website run by VISIT DENVER, coverage by Denver-based media such as CBS 4, The Denver Post, Rocky Mountain PBS and numerous neighborhood and specialty publications.

Beyond the lack of local knowledge of events and programs in Denver, there is also a weak national and international brand for arts, culture and creativity in Denver. While the number of stakeholders committed to advancing arts, culture and creativity is numerous, they speak with separate voices and distinct messages. As such, the message is not amplified or reinforced to the extent necessary. Common messages and a singular voice could do much to address another public aspiration, namely that Denver is known as an “arts friendly” city with the infrastructure to encourage and support art and artists.

AMPLIFICATION
2018-2020
Arts, culture and creativity are amplified in Denver – and amplify the city to the world. Not only are Denver residents aware of the cultural breadth and depth of their city, they are engaged and proud. We celebrate our history and heritage as we showcase current and emerging art forms. People regularly read about it, hear about it and experience it. Residents and visitors can easily learn what’s happening and how to partake in it. Not only do we vote “yes” on investments in our civic arts and cultural infrastructure, we line up at doors, fill up seats, and max out websites. This level of civic pride and critical cultural dialogue sends a message to the world about what Denver values. Art, culture and creativity are part of our identity and our DNA. We art Denver.2014-2017
➽ Showcase role models through Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Arts & Culture, Mayor’s Design Awards, and online resources

Our Strengths
Accessibility is a core area of focus in Denver, as illustrated by the fact that several large cultural organizations have been researching and trying to better understand accessibility issues at their institutions. Denver has several programs in place to make arts, culture and creativity more accessible to everyone. One of the largest programs is SCFD Free Days, which, across organizations, added up to 365 free days in 2012. Similarly, Denver Arts Week includes many offers that make the prices of various cultural events more accessible. And the results of these programs are evident in how participation in arts, culture and creativity in Denver compares to national rates.
In the scientific public survey, 66 percent of respondents had visited a museum and 56 percent had visited a gallery in the past 12 months. These participation rates were far higher than the national rates reported by the National Endowment for the Arts (only 21 percent of U.S. adults report visiting an art museum or gallery in the past 12 months) .

Our Challenges
Even though the participation rates in Denver exceed national rates, the desire for more participation is quite high in Denver. Sixty percent of scientific public survey respondents reported that they do not participate as much as they would like, which was especially true for African American and Hispanic respondents. Although participation rates were high overall, African American and Hispanic respondents reported generally lower rates of participation in the phone survey. Paid v. free participation. Investment/patronage/support beyond basic attendance.

Moreover, different groups of people in the scientific public survey reported differing barriers to participation. Although a lack of time was the biggest barrier overall in the survey, respondents who were 65 and older reported that a lack of transportation or someone to attend an event with were bigger barriers than time. Hispanic respondents were slightly more likely than other respondents to report that a lack of childcare was a barrier. African American and Hispanic respondents were also more likely to report feeling as if they do not have enough background knowledge to enjoy or understand arts and cultural events. Finally, there are access barriers such as ticket costs, transportation and parking. A&V conducted a cultural programming survey in 2012, which showed that these factors related to effective marketing, price and location of cultural activities.

Denver’s history and heritage are rich with cultural diversity, and that diversity is reflected in its neighborhoods. However, in the scientific public survey, African American and Hispanic respondents were more likely to rate the amount of culturally diverse programs in Denver as “poor” compared to other respondents. African American survey respondents seemed to have an especially poor opinion about the amount of culturally diverse programs in Denver. It seems as though diversity in arts, cultural and creative programs, events and leadership may not be proportionate to the amount of diversity in the city. That is, the diversity of the city may not always be reflected in the established arts, culture and creativity of the city.

Our Focus

Address Needs of Underserved Communities
➽ Similar to Denver’s vision for arts integration, one of the main concerns with accessibility in Denver is that certain communities and groups of people are being underserved. Importantly, both for the health and survival of arts, culture and creativity in Denver and to better serve residents, approaches to increasing accessibility will need to focus on meeting people where they currently are. This means carefully assessing barriers to participation, especially in terms of different barriers that disproportionately affect certain groups of people. Some barriers may include: public transit availability, communication of events, increased commute times, rising ticket prices, parking locations, time, income, and family-friendly material or activities. These factors become more complex for individuals and families new to the United States and to Denver.

Focus on Inclusion and Access

➽ The topic of inclusiveness is not new, and cultural organizations have been trying for years to have a more comprehensive reach. Given the city’s changing demographics, this effort is a “must do.” Broadening current audiences and building new ones will require a more robust approach to inclusiveness. Cultural organizations could think creatively about how people of all ages can experience and be exposed to art, culture and creativity in ways that foster growth of new audiences. Organizations should also be encouraged to share knowledge of what works by sharing best practices, for example.

Showcase Diverse Artistic and Creative Talent
➽ Given the diverse arts, culture and creativity that are in Denver, increasing cultural competency and inclusivity could be as simple as providing a platform to learn what is already occurring all over the city. The City of Denver, A&V, and their partners could showcase the many local artists, neighborhoods and organizations that exemplify the diversity of Denver. Similarly, it will also be important to make sure that diverse voices and points of view are present when making important decisions or drafting new policies for arts, culture and creativity in Denver.
“I hope to see innovative art span throughout the community and public landscape. I want to see art and culture available to all Denver.” Quote from What do you imagine for arts, culture and creativity?

ACCESSIBILITY
Arts, culture and creativity are truly inclusive and accessible for all. Denver is a model community demonstrating how cultural institutions, community and faith-based groups, city government, the business community, and individual citizens can come together to advance diversity and inclusion with lasting results. Strong public will and community leadership have forged an unshakeable commitment to address issues of cultural diversity, accessibility, social equity, and barriers to participation as they pertain to the arts and engagement. Arts, culture and creativity serve as both a social equalizer and a mode for authentic expression.