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.
Inspired by IMAGINE 2020, Denver Arts & V enues (A&V) is excited to announce the agency’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness Initiative (DEI). A&V is committed to these core values in all our programs, initiatives and processes. In 2015-2016, the Division on Cultural Affairs began evaluating practices related to diversity, equity and inclusiveness as they relate to the agency’s practices and portfolio of offerings. It became clear that the division had supported these values through funding, programming and outreach, but there had not been a concentrated effort nor a clearly articulated commitment agency wide or to the public. Additionally, A&V had no quantitative data about diversity in our practices or programs. This led to continuing discussions that resulted in A&V determining that diversity, equity and inclusiveness would be an agency priority, and the allocation of $10,000 from the 2016 Cultural Affairs budget towards translation work and $25,000 towards consultation and training in 2017. The agency is planning on allocating more than $100,000 for 2018.
Following recommendations and research on best practices, the agency has begun to implement the initiative starting with defining diversity, equity and inclusiveness as these relate to executing A&V’s work. The agency utilizes definitions based on language from the D5 Coalition, the Racial Equity Tools Glossary, artEquity, and Grantmakers in the Arts:
Diversity: Recognition and representation of individual or group differences encompassing race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, ability, socioeconomic status, age, religion, and other areas of identity.
Inclusiveness: Embracing differences by creating environments in which any individual or group can feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. While an inclusive group is by definition diverse, a diverse group isn’t always inclusive. To achieve inclusiveness, recognition of implicit or unconscious bias is necessary.
Equity: The fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time identifying and eliminating barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. Improving equity involves increasing justice and fairness within the protocols, processes, practices and policies of institutions or systems, as well as in their distribution of resources. Confronting and tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of disparities within our society. Equity is closely tied to actions and results to address historical disparities.
With a clearly defined lens to advance diversity, equity and inclusiveness, efforts are initially focused on the Division on Cultural Affairs and communication tactics, and then will be incorporated in other departments, our venues, signage, etc. As an agency priority, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness initiative will continue to evolve with our steadfast dedication to all our residents, as Denver is a city where everyone matters, and everyone matters in the arts.