Denver County Cultural Council
The cultural council is a board authorized by the State of Colorado and appointed by Denver City Council to distribute Scientific & Cultural Facilities District Tier III revenues to science and cultural organizations in Denver.
The Denver County Cultural Council is comprised of 11 voting members. Three are ex-officio, representing citywide organizations, and eight are community representatives selected from interested applicants.
DENVER COUNTY CULTURAL COUNCIL MEMBERS
William Chan - Chair
Will Chan, Director of Economic Mobility, Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center and the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative. Will brings a wealth of experience in the public sector as a champion of marginalized and diverse populations. In his current role, Will works alongside various stakeholders in Denver to create greater equity and opportunities to impacted communities facing rapid change. Before joining the Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center and the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative as the Director of Economic Mobility, Will managed the New Americans Project with Denver Public Library providing programming and services to Denver’s immigrant, refugee, and asylee populations. Will is passionate about connecting information and people, increasing institutional access, and empowering marginalized communities. Previously, he served as an Ambassador for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Currently he serves on the Denver Public School’s Mill Levy Oversight Committee and the Denver Asian American Pacific Islander Commission.
Leah Horn - Vice Chair
Leah Horn serves as the director of marketing and communications and legal manager for WESTAF (The Western States Arts Federation). She creates and directs marketing initiatives for earned-income projects; develops communication strategies for cultural policy objectives; oversees public relations efforts and publications; manages the organization's annual cultural policy symposium, arts leadership and advocacy seminar, and related meetings; and handles legal contracts and service agreements. Prior to her work at WESTAF, Horn managed a Congressional campaign in Wisconsin and served as an administrator at a law firm in Arizona. She has worked in a number of management roles, including product development for an international sports apparel company and visual merchandising for an American multinational clothing and accessories retailer. Horn has served on grant panels for Colorado Creative Industries and as a reader for the NEA’s Challenge America grant program. She has a background in performing arts, having studied classical ballet and flute and piccolo for more than a decade. Horn received dual bachelor’s degrees in sociology and journalism–media studies from the University of Colorado Boulder and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in communication at the University of Colorado Denver.
Rochelle Johnson - Secretary
Rochelle Johnson was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, where she discovered her passion for the arts. Johnson enrolled at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design where she attained a degree in Illustration. After graduating, she moved to Seattle, Washington where she worked as a freelance designer, creating community theater posters and identity packages for local businesses and work for the Washington State Bar Association in the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. These opportunities paid the bills, but she became intrigued by the idea of being a story-teller through her work.
In 1999, Johnson returned to Denver and eventually resumed pursuing the idea of story-telling through painting, a calling that had never left her consciousness. Johnson has been published in several journals the most notable being the American Art Collector Magazine. In 2017 she curated Inclusion: Diverse Voices of the Modern West at the McNichols Building. Today, Johnson continues to develop her unique style of story-telling through painting from her Denver studio.
Rick Acosta - Executive Committee Member
Rick Acosta has more than 30 years of experience as an entertainment and communications professional – for both consumer and commercial clients. His nonprofit participation and leadership includes the Arts Affinity Group, Curious Theatre Company, Leadership Denver, Social Venture Partners-International (and Denver), The Denver Foundation, and the Denver Chamber of Commerce Leadership Foundation. In the for-profit realm, he has worked for Liberty Media, AZN Television, International Channel, Canales ñ, and AT&T Broadband. He has lead a consulting firm specializing in bringing strategies to life and moving organizations into successful futures. He has an MBA in Operations Research from the University of Denver and an undergraduate degree Statistics. An ex-hockey player, longtime avid skier, and budding jazz bass player, he is the proud poppa of two marvelous children.
Beau Augustin - Denver Public Schools Appointee
In addition to being the Denver Public Schools appointee to the Denver Cultural Council, Beau serves the arts education community as the Dance and Theatre Arts Senior Instructional Curriculum Specialist for Denver Public Schools as well as the Director of Information Technology for the Colorado Thespian State Board. Beau received his Bachelors in Theatre Education from The University of Northern Colorado, and his Masters in Directing from The Chicago Conservatory of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Prior to joining Denver Public Schools Beau was the Theatre Director at Pomona High School in Arvada, Colorado.
M’Lissa Baker is a story-sharer and marketer with a passion for the arts and music. Currently, she is the manager for the Hunger Free Colorado photovoice project Hunger Through My Lens which focuses on storytelling, advocacy, and education surrounding the issue of hunger. She joined Hunger Free Colorado to lead the evolution of this impactful project with a focus of capturing the voice of hunger through photography, audio interview, video, and virtual reality. Her background is in music marketing and artist development having worked in both radio and for a major record label. Her education crosses multiple institutions and focuses on communications, marketing, and leadership. A native Texan, M’Lissa has called Denver home for since 2012. Outside of the office, she enjoys all that Denver and Colorado has to offer including camping, hiking, snowshoeing, photography, live events, public art, and new restaurants.
Sarabeth Berk is an artist/researcher/teacher, which means she works across the intersections of disciplines. Currently, she is the Innovation Program Manager in the Imaginarium- the innovation lab of Denver Public Schools. Sarabeth has a Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies and Teaching and attended Rhode Island School of Design for Art & Design Education. As an educator, she has taught all ages in public, private, and community settings, but her current work and passion involves sourcing and guiding grassroots innovation to disrupt and transform educational paradigms. Outside of work, Sarabeth is an art and culture enthusiast, attending events and openings near and far, and she loves skiing, running, yoga, and anything that involves being in the mountains.
Steven Chavez - Arts & Venues Appointee
Steven Chavez graduated from Colorado State University and the University of Colorado School of Law. Chavez has practiced law for thirty-four years. He prosecuted violations of federal environmental laws for several years at the US Environmental Protection Agency before taking a position at the Colorado Attorney General’s Office as an Assistant Attorney General where he worked for 17 years. Chavez also served as a First Assistant General under then Attorney General Ken Salazar. Chavez left the Attorney General’s Office to become the Director of Human Resources at the Colorado Department of Transportation. Recently, Chavez had the opportunity to serve as the Director of Civil Rights Enforcement for the State of Colorado. He assisted in enforcing Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination laws for seven years. He served on the Lt. Governor’s Indian Commission and Governor’s Pay Equity Commission as Civil Rights Director. Chavez serves on the boards of directors of many non-profit organizations and is currently the Co-chair of the Mayor’s Latino Commission.
Chavez has been a stage actor appearing in local productions for several theater companies. He has appeared in many print and commercial projects, including industrial films. He has a Bachelor of Science degree and is an avid photographer, astrophotographer and astronomer.
Jenna Crafton – Visit Denver Appointee
Jenna Crafton has been employed by VISIT DENVER, the Convention & Visitors Bureau since 2012, with her most recent position as the Cultural Tourism Manager beginning in 2016. Jenna is responsible for cultural tourism marketing efforts that include the Denver 365 online event calendar, endorsed by Imagine 2020, Denver’s citywide cultural plan; Denver Arts Week, the annual celebration of all things art & culture; and, the Denver 2for1TIX program, all of which offer free marketing opportunities for arts and cultural organizations in metro Denver. Jenna also handles the free quarterly Marketing Workshops for Arts & Cultural organizations and VISIT DENVER’s frontline hospitality training program, Go the EXTRA Mile. Additionally, Jenna assists with year-round consumer marketing efforts that include campaigns to reach LGBTQ and Hispanic/Latino audiences. In her spare time, she enjoys learning as many “fun facts” about Denver as possible!
Mariana Diniz Estevez
Mariana Diniz Estevez is an experienced arts and cultural executive producer with expertise in entertainment law, cultural industry, community outreach, placemaking, non-profit management, public policy, curatorship and branding.
In Brazil, where Mariana is from, she had the opportunity to work with Artmanagers, FIT-BH, Grupo Corpo, CCBB, Inhotim, Usicultura, Fundação Dom Cabral, Tudo é Jazz, FID, Festival Mundial de Circo, Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais among many others festivals and governmental instituitions.
Living in Denver for the past 4 years she has volunteered for US-Brazil Connect and the Biennial of the Americas. On a different path she is also head chef and designer of pop-up dinners at Tropicalist, a gastronomical project, spreading Brazilian flavors and arts in the Mile High City.
Throughout Mariana’s career she has helped individuals and institutions to rethink and structure their creative assets, build partnerships to design and implement projects that would respect policy guidelines, community desirability and private sector funding interest.
Amy Andrle holds a graduate degree in nonprofit management and worked as an executive at cultural art organizations for more than a decade. During this time she gained experience and appreciation for organizational development, compliance and collaboration. In 2014, Amy transitioned into working full time with her husband operating L’Eagle Services, an all-natural and sustainable recreational dispensary and cultivation facility specializing in clean cannabis. Together they have positioned L’Eagle as the first--and currently only--cannabis dispensary to earn recognition as a Certified Green Business from the City and County of Denver Department of Environmental Health, and a national Clean Green certification for organic cultivation practices.
Today, in addition to being a mother and running day-to-day operations for L’Eagle, Amy actively participates in outreach by contributing her time serving on the City of Denver’s Cannabis Sustainability Work Group, and as a founding board member of the Cannabis Certification Council.