GV Arts and Humanities Council plans $97K Cultural Arts Program for 2022

BY FREDA MIKLIN
GOVERNMENT REPORTER

Last spring, the volunteer Greenwood Village Arts and Humanities Council (AHC) developed a comprehensive survey to find out what types of cultural arts activities GV residents were most interested in. It was sent to all GV households; 713 responses were received. Some of the comments residents made on their surveys included, ““The Curtis Center is a treasure, and public art in GV should be a priority,” along with, “Thank you for soliciting input,” and, “Would like to see an indoor concert venue.”

During the city council study session on November 1, members of the AHC shared a draft of their 2022 Cultural Arts Plan with the council. AHC Chair Beth Kirk told council members that 76% of the survey respondents said that cultural arts are significant or very significant to the quality of their lives. Live music topped the list of what residents would like to see more of, followed by visual arts, theatre, arts education and public art. People said they were also interested in films and other cultural events. Kirk told the city council that the initiatives of the 2022 Cultural Arts Plan were based on the feedback from the survey.

A review of the actual survey results by The Villager told us more about residents’ live music preferences. It showed that they were most interested in attending live music events geared toward adults. Rock music was the most popular, followed by jazz, classical and folk. 

Continuing the presentation to the city council, AHC member Sue Santori talked about the mobile concert series that began in 2021 with four live performances at different GV parks as well as Live from the Curtis Center that showcased some of GV’s musical talent in Saturday evening concerts at Curtis.

Santori shared that in addition to continuing those events, AHC is also planning Pop Up Theatre in the Park in 2022. Long term, they hope to offer a brown bag lunch series in the GV commercial areas where entertainment would be provided outdoors during the day for the city’s office workers and others. AHC is also looking for a venue for indoor concerts for adults. Another idea they would like to try out is a program called Greenwood Village has Talent to allow GV residents to showcase their unique entertainment skills.

Longtime AHC member Catherine Huggins talked about visual arts. Currently, AHC has been doing seven separate exhibits at Curtis each year. They also expanded Art on the Green in 2021, created in 2020 in response to the health pandemic, to two days and 65 booths, which drew over 4,000 visitors this year. AHC’s long term vision is to expand GV’s Public Art Program by loans or purchases of additional art pieces. They also hope to expand GV’s studio project from only the Women of Steele (Street) tour to more studios around the city. 

Recent addition to the AHC, 40-year GV resident and former Cherry Creek High School Principal Kathy Smith presented Arts Education. She shared that 1,680 adults registered for 577 art class sessions in 2020 and 1,700 kids registered for 173 sessions. She said that AHC would like to see more guest speakers and lecturers in local schools. AHC plans to continue to offer two $5,000 scholarships every year for local students of the arts. Long term, they would like to have an Artist in Residence who would work with schools, children and, adults.

AHC Chair Beth Kirk wrapped up the presentation to the GV City Council by adding that the survey showed that people are also interested in film so they are looking for places to show films and would like to spread it around to different neighborhoods of the city. 

She also shared that she also hoped GV could produce “our own cultural heritage festival,” possibly focused on pioneers or Native American Indians.

Traditionally, cultural arts are funded by the city’s general fund and Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) grants. The AHC itself provides the funding for scholarships, juried exhibit awards and public art from its programming. This year, the SCFD awarded GV $71,768. That amount, together with the $25,000 included in the city budget, will pay for the $96,700 budget required for the 2022 Cultural Arts Plan. Kirk added that long term initiatives will require more funding, possibly from fundraising or partnerships. 

Kirk closed her presentation by asking for feedback on the proposed program from the city council. All the members of the GV City Council told the AHC members that they were doing a great job. There were no recommendations from any council members regarding any of the components of the 2022 Cultural Arts Plan. 

fmiklin.villager@gmail.com