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Three recipients of Arts in Society program from Southwest Colorado

One of the recipients of the grant program will be creating an original song with local youths. (Unsplash)
Over $661,000 was granted to 27 artists across Colorado in 2024

Three of the recently announced winners of the Arts in Society program grants are from Southwest Colorado. The recipients are Bruce Borowsky, Magic City Studios and Move Mountains Youth Leaders.

The program, which is a collaboration between the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries, Colorado Health Foundation, The Colorado Trust, Denver Arts and Venues and various funders from Southern Colorado including El Pomar, Bee Vradenburg Foundation, Chapman Foundations and the Joseph Henry Edmondson Foundation, announced the grant winners on April 18.

According to information provided by the Arts in Society program, Arts in Society is a “cross-sector grant program that seeks to positively impact cross-sector initiatives, such as health, environment and other human service programs statewide.”

“This grant program was really born out of a place that so many artists are showing up in their communities and supporting social causes,” RedLine Contemporary Arts Center Executive Director Louise Martorano told The Journal. “Whether it’s amplifying and sounding alarms around climate change or helping veterans through art or trying to raise awareness around the need to support individuals experiencing homelessness, artists are naturally showing up in this work.”

The program, which was founded in 2017, is a “unique” collaboration between multiple Colorado funders and administered by the RedLine Contemporary Art Center to grant over $6 million in grants across the state of Colorado each year.

“The beauty about this funding program is that it’s inclusive to all, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a business, an artist, nonprofit, municipality, you can apply for this funding,” Martorano said.

To date, the Arts in Society program has granted over $4 million to the arts, emphasizing that the “integration of arts and culture into multiple disciplines is critical to the health and well-being of Coloradans.”

“We're proud to be a key funder for the Arts in Society Grant,” Denver Arts & Venues Deputy Director Tariana Navas-Nieves said. “By joining efforts with other funders, this collaborative grant-making program makes a larger impact on the artists and organizations doing cross-sector work, which are critical to our creative sector.”

In total, 27 projects were funded for amounts ranging between $15,000 to $35,000 for the 2024 grant cycle.

Winners were chosen by a 14-member panel between January and March 2024. Over 344 applications were submitted for a chance at receiving a grant.

“Grant applications were assessed based on the applicant’s ability to illustrate artistic commitment, broaden the understanding of the role arts play in society, demonstrate cross-sector work, exhibit cultural relevance, foster community engagement and present opportunities for shared learning,” the program’s news release said.

Borowsky’s Ute Storytelling is Our Lineage aims to create a short film with youths and young adults in the Ute Mountain Ute tribe.

“Collaborators in the surrounding community will contribute to the finished product by utilizing their talents and cultural knowledge,” Borowsky said. “Storytelling is a traditional and intelligent means of conveying information between generations and in this project we are encouraging the youths and young adults to convey their story through film, a creative and relevant means.”

Magic City Studios seeks to use The Magic City of the Southwest to explore “fresh, untold histories in Southwest Colorado.

“Stories that offer a rich, nuanced understanding of this region. We are a myth-busting, truth-seeking, creative storytelling project based in Durango, seeking to invigorate the community through audio storytelling, multimedia and live storytelling events,” Magic City Studios said.

The group’s monthly episodes are broadcast on public radio, as well as being available in podcast. They also host live events that “bring the community together to explore and celebrate an inclusive regional history.”

Move Mountains Youth Leaders will be collaborating with Denver-based 2MX2 band and a producer to create, arrange and record an original song “that focuses on the positive community aspects that they would like to sing about or a social issue identified by the youths that they wish to address.”

After the song’s creation, the youths who took part in the song will partner with a Colorado-based video production company to create their own music video. The video will be showcased at the end of the summer at the Santa Ana Festival.

Grant applications for 2025 grant funding are expected to open sometime in August.

Martorano added that the program is always looking for other philanthropists and foundations that wish to help fund these kinds of projects.

“Every year we try to bring in more foundations that also represent different geographies and different regions of the state,” Martorano said. “Not only is that additional expertise at the table that helps bring those communities voices, but we try to bring more funds into the pool because there aren’t a ton of opportunities for statewide funding for the arts.”

More information about Arts in Society, funding partners, grantees, and history of past recipients can be found by visiting https://www.redlineart.org/art-education-and-community-programs.

Questions can also be directed to Lares Feliciano at lfeliciano@redlineart.org.