Arts & Venues' releases Denver Music Strategy; $80,000 in grants will support Denver music initiatives

Jul 10 2018

En Español

A combined $80,000 in grants is being made available as part of a long-term plan to build and maintain Denver’s music scene, Denver Arts & Venues announced. The funds, called the Denver Music Advancement Fund, are being released as part of a new City-sponsored Denver Music Strategy.

The grants are intended to provide funding of new projects that will spur growth in the local music business as well as growing new audiences, particularly youth.

The grants are available as an initial investment in the community recommended by the new Denver Music Strategy.  The strategy is a community-led platform intended to leverage Denver’s local talent and resources. Participants in developing the strategy included musicians, businesses, government representatives, nonprofit leaders, and educational institutions. The Denver Music Strategy was developed through extensive stakeholder engagement, examination of best practices, nearly a decade of music development partnerships, and more than 90 interviews with members of the Denver music ecosystem.

“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,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “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 focuses on five tactics:

  1. Continue research, policy development and advocacy through global, regional and local partnerships including programs like Colorado Creative Industries’ Music Strategy for the State of Colorado, and those at the University of Colorado Denver College of Arts & Media.
  2. Convene the Denver Music Advisory Panel, an advisory group comprised of musicians and business, government, nonprofit and educational leaders, to support long-term strategies to amplify Denver as a global music city.
  3. Launch the Denver Music Advancement Fund, which will provide $80,000 in the first year to support initiatives that advance the Denver Music Strategy and IMAGINE 2020 cultural plan.
  4. Support safe and affordable creative spaces for creative production, youth engagement, artistic growth and musical collaboration by working directly with city agencies, the community, businesses and organizations.
  5. Support emergency preparedness initiatives by adapting successful models from arts and cultural institutions.

“Cultivating local and emerging talent is the key to ensuring that Denver's culture scene is equitable,” said Stephen Brackett, FLOBOTS musician, Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs Commissioner and member of the Denver Music Advisory Panel. “Music transcends boxes and barriers - and our musicians follow suit.”

The full Denver Music Strategy includes an analysis of Denver’s current and future music industry.  Among the highlights:

  • The music industry within the Denver metropolitan region is thriving and responsible for over 8,500 jobs and $842.4 million in revenue
  • The musicians who drive the industry, along with the agents and managers who help foster their careers, represented just over 4,000 jobs and an associated $289 million in revenue in 2016

-more -

  • The Denver metropolitan region’s music industry experienced a 30% growth in employment between 2010 and 2016 adding over 1,900 jobs.
  • Denver's music industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the region for employment, ahead of energy, aerospace, and biotech
  • Denver is positioned to take advantage of the increasing consumption of live music experiences nationwide in a time when a new experience economy driven by the millennial generation is emerging.

The full strategy document with statistics, recommendations and methodology, may be found at

The Denver Music Advancement Fund is accepting grant proposals now through August 3.  The effort is being funded by Denver Arts & Venues and partners at Illegal Pete’s and LivWell Enlightened Health, and will provide grant opportunities of up to $7,500 per grant to individuals and organizations supporting Denver’s music ecosystem.

Proposals must advance new music-centric programs or initiatives and:

  • Increase advocacy, impact and contributions to a more empathetic and equitable society through music
  • Indicate and encourage creative collaborations that transcend discipline boundaries
  • Explore a broad range of musical genres
  • Engage broad and diverse communities, especially youth
  • Provide student-centered and culturally-relevant instruments and instruction to Denver schools that offer limited or no music education
  • Leverage additional funding resources to support sustainable growth in the field
  • Have potential for significant artistic and cultural impact on a community
  • Reflect the applicant’s unique interpretation of music advancement
  • Support career growth and capacity-building
  • Show artistic strength, vision, originality and professional capabilities
  • Explore global and culturally diverse connections
  • Understand the professional and creative landscape of the music ecosystem
  • Take risks and articulate an original vision

Funded projects must take place in 2018-2019 calendar years and demonstrate financial and resource matches. For full guidelines, criteria and application instructions, please visit

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