In recognition of Deaf Heritage Month, Denver Arts & Venues, The Denver Office of Sign Language Services and ImaginASL invite Denver residents and visitors to celebrate the rich culture, language and heritage of deaf people through the Breaking Barriers Festival, Sept. 10-16.

“We are thrilled and honored to collaborate with Denver Arts & Venues and Denver Office of Sign Language Services on Breaking Barriers, taking these events beyond the Deaf community,” says Nicki Runge, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of ImaginASL.

In addition to an exhibition at Wellington E. Webb Municipal Building (201 W. Colfax Ave.) that showcases members of the Deaf community who have transcended stereotyping, discrimination and communication barriers to become successful and influential in the hearing culture, the Breaking Barriers Festival brings two performances.

CJ Jones, a Deaf comedian, performs at Wellington E. Webb Municipal Building Atrium Friday, Sept. 14, 11 a.m. An unstoppable force within Hollywood as a Deaf actor, producer, director, writer and entrepreneur, Jones is also acclaimed for his humor and inspiration. This performance is free and open to the public. 

Wawa’s World brings a unique blend of audio and imagery at a “Dip Hop” (Deaf hip-hop) performance at McNichols Civic Center Building (144 W. Colfax Ave.) Sunday, Sept. 16, 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door.

Both performances are accessible to Deaf and hearing audiences with English translation services, and there will be a talk back after Wawa’s World. Tickets are available at

“There is no better way to promote understanding than through creative expression,” says Mark Heiser, venue director of Denver Performing Arts Complex, Denver Arts & Venues. “As part of our ongoing efforts to advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness programs at Denver Arts & Venues, we are pleased to present this unique opportunity for the agency to work collaboratively with ImagineASL and the Denver Office of Sign Language Services on programs that seek to bridge understandings between the Deaf and hearing community.”

The Deaf People Breaking Barriers poster exhibit at Wellington E. Webb Municipal Building will be open to the public Sept. 10-14.

Additional statistics

  • 473,000 people in Colorado with hearing loss
  • 249,000 people in Denver metro area with hearing loss
  • 60,900 Deaf people in Denver metro area
  • People who are Deaf or hard of hearing are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)


About Denver Arts & Venues
Denver Arts & Venues’ mission is to amplify Denver’s quality of life and economic vitality through premier public venues, arts and entertainment opportunities. Arts & Venues is the City and County of Denver agency responsible for operating some of the region’s most renowned facilities, including Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, the Denver Performing Arts Complex, Colorado Convention Center, Denver Coliseum and McNichols Civic Center Building. Arts & Venues also oversees the Denver Public Art Program, Create Denver, SCFD Tier III granting process, Arts Education Fund and other entertainment and cultural events such as the Five Points Jazz Festival, Urban Arts Fund, P.S. You Are Here and implementation of IMAGINE 2020: Denver’s Cultural Plan. Denver Arts & Venues is committed to diversity, equity and inclusiveness in all our programs, initiatives and decision-making processes.

About Denver Office of Sign Language Services
The Denver Office of Sign Language Services creates access for Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing people to Denver government programs, services, and events by: providing sign language interpreting services, open captioning via Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), and Assistive Listening Devices for sound amplification to Denver government agencies upon request; engaging members of the Deaf and hard of hearing communities in Denver City and County government affairs; educating and consulting with City and County of Denver employees regarding their responsibility under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide access to the Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing public; and providing information and referral.


About ImaginASL

ImaginASL Performing Arts strives to entertain, educate, and unite the Deaf and hearing worlds with rich unique artistic, cultural, and theatrical experiences full of American Sign Language. ImaginASL produces theatrically challenging work of the highest quality, drawing from as wide a range of the world’s literature as possible, performs these original works in a style that links American Sign Language with the spoken word, and seeks, trains and employs Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing artists.