Denver announces strategy to strengthen music scene, includes $80K in grants

DENVER — The city has introduced a new strategy, which includes $80,000 in grants, with a focus on amplifying the music scene in Denver.

Grants totaling $80,000 — up to $7,500 per grant — are now available as part of a long-term plan to build and maintain Denver’s music scene, according to Denver Arts & Venues.

The funds, dubbed the Denver Music Advancement Fund, are being released as part of the Denver Music Strategy, a new city-sponsored, community-led platform intended to leverage Denver’s local talent and resources. The grants from this fund will provide funding to new projects that aim to spur growth in the local music business, and help music continue its role as an agent for economic vibrancy, education, community innovations and positive social change, according to Denver Arts & Venues.

This effort is funded by Denver Arts & Venues and partners at Illegal Pete’s and LivWell Enlightened Health.

“Music contributes to the vibrancy of our community, our economy, our diversity and our livability, so it’s important that we continue to support and strengthen Denver’s music scene,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “With an asset like the world-renowned Red Rocks in the city’s portfolio, and nationally and internationally recognized musical acts fostered here, Denver is a music-loving community with a bright future we can create together.”

The Denver Music Strategy, which was developed after extensive research and interviews with members of the local industry, will focus on five tactics:

  1. Continuing research, policy development and advocacy through global, regional and local partners, such as Colorado Creative Industries’ Music Strategy for the State of Colorado and University of Colorado Denver College of Arts & Media
  2. Convening the Denver Music Advisory Panel, which is a group of leaders in music, business, government, nonprofit and education, to support the goal of amplifying Denver as global music city
  3. Launching the Denver Music Advancement Fund, which will provide the $80,000 in its first year to support initiatives that advance the Denver Music Strategy and the city’s cultural plan, IMAGINE 2020
  4. Supporting the safe and affordable creative spaces for production, engagement, artistic growth and collaboration by working with groups across the city
  5. Supporting emergency preparedness initiatives that successful models in arts and cultural institutions use

“Cultivating local and emerging talent is the key to ensuring that Denver's culture scene is equitable,” said Stephen Brackett, a musician with the band Flobots and member of the Denver Music Advisory Panel. “Music transcends boxes and barriers. And our musicians follow suit.”

Music has become a major part of Denver culture, creating more than 8,500 jobs and $842.4 million in revenue, according to analysis by the Denver Music Strategy. Among other data on the city’s current and future music industry, the analysis also found that music has become one of the fastest growing industries in the area for employment, surpassing energy, aerospace and biotech.

Want to apply for a grant? The Denver Music Advancement Fund is accepting proposals now through Aug. 3. Funded projects must take place in 2018 or 2019, and must demonstrate financial and resource matches. Winners will be announced in August.

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