Denver arts: show me the money

Posted on: September 21, 2010

In Sunday’s (9/19) Denver Post, Kyle MacMillan writes, “Survey the recent high-profile additions to Denver’s cultural landscape, like the Denver Art Museum’s $110 million expansion or the $92 million Ellie Caulkins Opera House, and it’s only natural to want to pat ourselves on the back. But are we really such big spenders on the arts?” In Dallas, Kansas City, and even Des Moines, Iowa, MacMillan notes, “cultural groups have rallied their wealthiest businesses and individuals to dig deep into their pockets and contribute big money. The often world- class facilities that result boost artistic quality, lure tourists and make the cities culturally relevant. Here, the community hasn’t even delivered the reasonably small $30 million needed for proposed improvements to Boettcher Concert Hall. Embarrassingly, the project is in danger of being scrapped. So, why doesn’t Denver measure up when it comes to giving to the arts? … Groups do fine when it comes to generating small and medium gifts. In fact, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts reports that donations in the $1,000-and-below range rose 40 percent over the past two years. But trying to find contributions worth hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars—the kind that are essential to large-budget projects—proves to be a thorny challenge.”

Posted September 21, 2010