With the close of this year’s election, the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District officially marked the 30th anniversary of its creation by voters. By providing invaluable financial resources – providing $57 million in funding in 2017 alone – the district acts as a catalyst, providing thousands of residents access to arts, culture and science experiences every year.
First created by voters in 1988, SCFD was conceived in response to budget cuts to the region’s largest cultural institutions. The initial legislation provided funds to 134 organizations across six counties. Today, the funding district provides grants to nearly 300 organizations of all sizes, including museums, orchestras, dance companies, theatre troupes, community gardens across the now seven counties that make up the Denver metro area.
“What has made SCFD special and unique nationally is the collaboration and access,” says SCFD board chair Rob Johnson. “In my time working with SCFD, I have seen residents of our region experience arts, culture, and science in new and exciting ways – thanks in no small part to SCFD. With our focus on access, many across our region can afford to visit attractions and experiences they might not otherwise be able to afford.”
Described as an “arts ecosystem,” the arts and cultural scenes of the Denver metro region have thrived since the district’s inception. Organizations that receive funds from the district share a common thread that often brings them together to collaborate in a spirit of innovative thinking. For example, the Butterfly Pavilion and the Colorado Ballet work together to present an educational program called “Metamorphosis Moves” in which students from first to sixth grade dance and move to learn about the life cycle of a butterfly.
Education is another key facet of the work that organizations perform using SCFD funds.
“School teachers are always looking for new ways for their students to learn and cultural organizations are continuing to find new ways to fill that need,” said Deborah Jordy, SCFD Executive Director. “Through district funding, our institutions are able to provide about 4 million school children the chance to experience arts and culture every year.”
The district will officially celebrate with an event at 6 p.m. Nov. 28 at the McNichols Civic Center Building in Denver’s city center. This event is supported by Denver Arts & Venues Cultural Partner Program as well as sponsors including PNC Bank, the Ball Corporation and Citizens for Arts to Zoo.
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