Image of the Montbello Drum Line at Five Points Jazz Festival - Photo by Lucia de Giovanni



Arts strengthen a city. Arts enhance our community. Arts invigorate our lives. Denver is committed to ensuring the arts continue to grow and thrive. 

Arts, culture and creativity contribute significantly to Denver’s economic vitality and quality of life by offering unique experiences to residents and visitors, creating jobs, attracting a talented workforce and fostering a more just and inclusive city. It is essential that we support its future with a collective vision. 

To Denver’s Cultural Community—individual artists, arts organizations and cultural leaders—

We ask that you join us in actively utilizing arts, culture and creativity as a tool for community and societal change. We'd love for you to engage in conversation and collaborate with us and each other.


In the Spring of 2013, Denver’s community gathered to provide a strategic vision and future platform for arts, culture and creativity in the city that became IMAGINE 2020, the first cultural plan for the city since 1989. The community-based plan reflected the vision, goals and aspirations of thousands of residents and stakeholders to help guide resources, support and direction for the future of arts and culture in Denver.

The plan was rooted in 7 vision elements ...

DAV and the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs have been stewarding the cultural plan over the years, fostering adoption and implementation of its guiding principals, surveying the community consistently to identify growth and areas of improvement, and ensuring the plan evolves as the city and the sector do. 

7 Vision Elements - Guiding Principles

#1 INTEGRATION: Arts, culture and creativity are fully integrated into daily life, work and play in Denver.
#2 AMPLIFICATION: Arts, culture and creativity are amplified in Denver - and amplify the city to the world.
#3 ACCESSIBILITY: Arts, culture and creativity are truly inclusive and accessible for all.
#4 LIFELONG LEARNING: Exposure, appreciation and participation in arts, culture and creativity span our lifetimes.
#5 LOCAL TALENT: Denver's diverse artistic and creative professionals are locally cultivated and flourishing.
#6 ECONOMIC VITALITY: Denver's economic vitality is accelerated by arts, culture and creativity.
#7: COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP: Collective leadership is committed to high impact results across Denver.

Learn More

IMAGINE 2020 Public Survey 2013, 2017, 2020

See how resident sentiments about arts and culture in Denver have changed over the years. In 2013, 2017 and 2020, we conducted a public survey with Corona Insights to assess progress made through the implementation of IMAGINE 2020. Goals of the survey:

  • Assess opinions, beliefs, and behaviors related to arts,culture, and creativity in Denver (specifically related to the 7 Vision Elements)
  • Examine differences between certain segments of the population (with oversampling for Black/African American and Hispanic/Latinx residents)
  • Compare results to those of the 2013, 2017 and 2020 surveys
  • For 2020 only: Expand questions to assess impact of COVID-19 and how best to support Denver’s communities and the arts and cultural sector.
Learn More

IMAGINE 2020 Annual Reports

Our annual reports showcase how DAV, fellow organizations and the community have implemented the plan over the years. 

UAF Dreamers Arrival with Filter


A city filled with dreamers,
where the summertime pavement is alive with possibility,
glistening bits of loose gravel smiling at the sun.
Here, a thriving community of creators
who have always learned to make what we need,
have made this city our home.
We, who pour ourselves over horizons in unmistakable color.
We who have found, and have always been, the frontier.

We, who have learned the weight of expansion.
the rich lives we build carefully, persistently,
holding command over every element,
staring and stirring until only the best emerges,
teaching a corner of the sky to stand still
with a glance and the crook of a finger,
wielding hips and hands and moving parts
until each person has a place at our table.

We stretch and shift the reach of our arms,
encompassing each other in perfect mosaic.
We, the soil, roots, the leaves,
making and marking our own history.
We, the air, the water, the fiery new morning
illuminating a city alive with our dreams.
What is art if not us?


Where we lift our voices,
use the power of our words and dreams to build lives.
Where the amplification of our harmony shakes the ground,
opening new trails to forge.
Where we speak together, listen and understand.
Imagine what we will create

By Suzi Q. Smith

How can we reframe the cultural plan to support us now and into the future?

In 2019, we began reflecting on the accomplishments and opportunities that emerged since the launch of IMAGINE 2020. The cultural plan has been central to creating common language and strategy and to building trusting relationships with artists, community representatives, philanthropic partners, cultural leaders and social justice champions. It also made us look within to redefine our own agency values in an effort to cultivate Denver’s arts and cultural community in changing times. 

Areas of Success

Significant increases in funding for arts and culture, more equitable practices by our cultural and arts organizations, and a heightened desire from residents to participate in arts and cultural events.

Growth Opportunities

The desire for more culturally diverse offerings and the need to improve access to information and participation in these programs.

Emerging from a global health crisis and a reckoning with racial injustice, we now have a greater understanding of what it means to meet the moment. We reimagined the process of updating IMAGINE 2020 by leaning in on listening to the narratives unfolding in our arts and cultural communities. We heard central lessons for supporting and cultivating the creative sector and how that support could foster the City’s larger creative cultural environment for all residents.

Denver's Cultural Commitment

Coming soon!

cultural commitment cover.jpg



For more information, please contact Georgina Guidotti, Business Operations Administrator, Cultural Affairs