By Jill Carstens
Denver is experiencing a lot of growing pains, but along with that growth has come unique opportunities, especially in the arts. In April, The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) announced a new program for emerging adults, Creators Studio.
This program is designed for young adults, age 17-26, who have finished high school (or GED), are interested in a career in the arts and may or may not enroll in college. Creator’s Studio launched this summer at MCA’s new satellite location in North Denver at the Holiday Theater.
MCA networked with partners to locate mentors who included artist Esther Hz, an interdisciplinary artist; Castle Searcy, a creative strategist; and Michael Bevis, a long-time entrepreneur, now working for the City of Denver’s Office of Economic Development.
“I was excited to work with these young people to help them with their entrepreneurial ideas in the creative realm,” said Bevis, who has a long history of helping young adults realize their business dreams. Bevis curated a curriculum to help the interns flush out their ideas from the financial to the marketing perspectives.
The program culminated in a Shark Tank-like pitch where local judges evaluated the viability of the student’s ideas.
“We had a remarkable collection of brilliant and talented young artists. Each of them received funding after their presentations,” he said. A total of $76,000 was gifted in donor funds. Participant Nik “Blue” Lane, a recent Colorado College graduate, entered the program with the hope of re-engaging in their art in a more productive manner.
“I realized my past art education had been much more focused on improving technical skills, not on how to make it in the real world,” Blue said. “I’m so grateful to have found this program that understands the potential social impact of art. The process helped me to shape to my goals and merge my prior education into a cohesive art practice that captures current social issues and helps offer solutions.”
With the support and encouragement of the internship, Blue founded their new painting business, Bluebird Lane Art LLC, and began to combine their creative work with giving back by using the sale of their portraits to support the trans community in sharing their stories and help fund their healthcare costs. Applications for next summer’s Creator’s Studio will open late winter/early spring 2023.
There is space for 20 interns, ages 17-26. The classes tale place on Saturdays for seven weeks and include a $720 stipend.