There was a colorful request made at Governor Jared Polis’ Monday news conference on COVID-19. Margaret Hunt, Executive Director of Colorado Creative Industries (CCI), announced the Colorado Face Mask Design Challenge.
This is an opportunity for all Colorado kids to create their own design for a face mask. Hunt encouraged, “Be creative! Some of the submitted designs will be featured on our Facebook page, and a select few will be printed on real face masks produced by Colorado companies. Have fun with this!” Hunt asks, “What would you like your friends to see on a mask in your school, your neighborhood, at home?”
CCI’s overall vision is “to support and expand the impact of creative industries, artists, and entrepreneurs, connecting communities to advance a thriving and vibrant Colorado.” As a division of the Office of Economic Development & International Trade, CCI, according to their website, “believes in the power of creativity to inspire human connections, create social change, and support economic vibrancy throughout Colorado. We believe in the practice of creation, the artists and entrepreneurs who contribute to our rich culture and the benefits of our creative economy. We support and encourage the innovators, creators, change-makers and dreamers who improve our quality of life and make Colorado creative. We focus on strengthening the vitality of visual, performing and literary arts through promotion, resources and funding opportunities. We believe in bold innovation and the invaluable contributions the arts bring to this beautiful state.”
CCI is also responding to “understanding and supporting the health and economic prosperity of the arts and culture sector across Colorado.” The organization recognizes how COVID-19 poses critical challenges, such as cancellations and closures, to Colorado’s creative sector.
“We are working with our federal, state, and local partners to secure potential recovery funding and technical assistance opportunities. In addition, we are exploring opportunities that are available for the arts communities and will share them with our industry partners as they are identified. We are having conversations with arts+culture leaders and funders to discuss a collective response and we are reviewing our current CCI programs and budget for opportunities,” the CCI website says. “As we work together to navigate this crisis, we will need arts and culture more than ever to inspire, lift our spirits, and drive economic recovery,” CCI acknowledges.
Action steps in support of the arts community include gathering and sharing resources; seeking feedback from constituents; promoting the Americans for the Arts 2020 Impact of COVID-19 survey to track economic data and glean impact stories; participating in conference calls with national and local partners to formulate coordinated responses; evaluating opportunities to adapt current programs to support disaster recovery; and exploring models to support online and virtual opportunities.
Grantees should be assured that CCI is awaiting guidance regarding the allocation of federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The CCI staff appreciates hearing about the needs and concerns of the creative community, and is working remotely with regular business hours.
Click here for a list of staff contacts.
Additional CCI support programs are the Colorado Artist Relief Fund and the COVID-19 CO Creatives Relief Grant, a general operating support source for organizations. Other resources for health and public safety, employment, and endowments can be found on their website.
CCI encourages the consideration of these three simple ways to support the arts during COVID-19: If you had tickets to an upcoming cultural event (i.e., performance, concert, exhibition, tour, lecture), consider donating that ticket back to the organization; make a financial donation, or donate your Colorado state tax refund through ReFUND CO to a specified cultural organization; and/or “hire an artist from the Colorado Artist Talents and Skills roster for jobs ranging from web design to babysitting.”
Keep colorfully creating out there, Lyons. The face mask challenge and free canvas offering from Western Stars Gallery (upon which to paint submissions for the next Lyons Arts and Humanities’ Town Hall Art Show) are great places to start.