Art at the Heart: 2017 Art Tank

The Denver Foundation

They came. They pitched. And when it was over, four organizations walked away from the third annual Art Tank Colorado with significant financial support for creative work in Metro Denver.

In early February, six of Metro Denver’s most innovative artists and organizations presented their best ideas for creative projects and programs to a live, voting audience at the University of Denver—Shark Tank-style—and competed for $75,000 in funding.

Arts Street @Youth Employment Academy took home top honors for “We Still Live,” a leadership and empowerment program that takes young people from Denver’s La Alma/ Mariposa neighborhood through a process of creative self-discovery. Arts Street, founded by artist and educator Stella Yu, has provided arts-based career training to Denver’s youth for more than two decades. Other awards went to RedLine Contemporary Art Center, Colorado Black Arts Movement, and Warm Cookies of the Revolution for projects that varied in form but shared a theme of placemaking through community engagement.

Art Tank Colorado, which was named “Best Arts Funding Program” in Westword’s 2017 “Best of Denver,” is produced by The Denver Foundation’s Arts Affinity Group (AAG) and partners Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries, and Denver Arts & Venues. Since it formed in 2012, the AAG has awarded $225,000 to more than a dozen creative nonprofits and individuals in our community.

The Denver Foundation’s long tradition of support for the arts is rooted in a knowledge that the work of artists adds depth and texture to our neighborhoods. Artists themselves contribute mightily to our economy and work in our schools, youth centers, social service agencies, municipal offices, and streets. Local arts groups find innovative ways to bring communities together to practice civic dialogue and city building.

In so many ways, they make Denver a better place for all of us.

For more information the Arts Affinity Group, please call Kelly Purdy at 303.300.1790, or email Details are also available via

The Denver Foundation is building many new on-ramps into the world of philanthropy. One way is through collective giving. Giving circles and affinity groups are a form of philanthropy through which groups of individuals donate their own money to a pooled fund, decide together what charities or community projects to give to, and in so doing, increase their awareness of and engagement in the community. Many such groups also contribute their time and skills to support local causes.

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  • Collective Impact