Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Denver Arts & Venues have released Denver’s first cultural plan in 25 years. IMAGINE 2020: Denver’s Cultural Plan provides a strategic vision for the city’s arts, culture and creativity, and sets a bold agenda to achieve in seven years.

Through an inclusive, data-driven public input process that asked residents to imagine its cultural future, IMAGINE 2020 was created for Denverites by Denverites.

“From the small galleries along Santa Fe or the Big Blue Bear, to the trio performing at a bar on South Broadway or a headlining band stirring a sold out crowd at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, arts and culture are the heart of this great city,” Mayor Hancock said, standing before a recently installed work of public art in the Colorado Convention Center. “They are a critical aspect of our economy, identity and global competitiveness, and moreover, they are a point of pride for residents. IMAGINE 2020 captures the aspirations Denverites have for their city and will help focus the support we and our partners provide to the city’s arts and culture.”

Implementing the plan
Mayor Hancock and Denver Arts & Venues Executive Director Kent Rice today announced a series of early achievements to kick-start implementation of Denver’s new cultural plan:

  • New Public Art – Eight new works by Colorado artists have been installed at the Colorado Convention Center.
  • Artspace study – Artspace Projects, a national leader in artist-led community transformation, will conduct a feasibility study of an affordable, mixed-use development in the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative neighborhood of River North.
  • P.S. You Are Here – A new grant program administered by Denver Arts & Venues that provides funding for public placemaking activities in Denver’s neighborhoods.
  • Enhanced – Based on significant public feedback, VISIT DENVER is enhancing the website to give residents and visitors an easy-to-use, comprehensive online event calendar that features all of Denver’s arts and entertainment offerings.

“We have crafted a shared vision for Denver’s artistic, cultural and creative future,” Rice said. “We all have the responsibility of leadership going forward, and with the help of our partners we will implement this plan and continue to make our city great.”

‘For Denver, by Denver’
More than 5,000 people helped create IMAGINE 2020, the city’s first cultural plan since 1989. It was informed by feedback received through online community input tools, a scientific public phone survey, the Mayor-appointed Commission on Cultural Affairs and Stakeholder Leadership Group of more than 100 people, City Council district forums, a series of 11 listening sessions, and dozens of events and presentations.

More than seven months of public input yielded seven “Vision Elements” that serve as the foundation of the plan. Each vision includes goals – and strategies to achieve them – that will be pursued during the plan’s implementation throughout the next seven years.

“You told us that Denver is an arts town, and that you want to see more of the arts in your daily lives,” Arts & Venues Executive Director Kent Rice said. “That is exactly what this plan will work to deliver.”

Top priorities
Ten of the 50 goals identified in IMAGINE 2020 have been identified as priorities for the city:

  • Increase visibility of local artistic and creative talent;
  • Launch a public/private partnership with a focus on building the infrastructure necessary for 21st century cultural development and promotion:
  • Identify, inventory and rank availability of arts, culture and creativity in every neighborhood, noting cultural deserts;
  • Address barriers that limit participation such as affordability, transportation and other factors;
  • Increase availability of affordable and accessible live/work spaces for creative sector workers;
  • Launch an alliance of organizations committed to inclusiveness and engagement in arts and culture;
  • Inventory all arts, cultural, and creative enterprises for policy and messaging purposes;
  • Offer a “Culture Cash” gift card, with proceeds benefiting IMAGINE 2020 initiatives;
  • Support Denver Public Schools’ arts education strategic plan; and
  • Maximize website for residents and visitors.

“Denver has a strong foundation of arts, culture and creativity,” Hancock said. “IMAGINE 2020 will build on our successes, inspire us to take the city’s creative economy to the next level and increase our global competitiveness.”