Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Denver: A World Class City for Events and Art

Denver really is a World-class city.

Denver has won The International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) 2012 IFEA World Festival &. Event City Award.

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The award was presented September 21, during the 57th Annual IFEA Convention & Expo, held, coincidentally in Denver. We are a great event city.

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The IFEA World Festival & Event City Award was designed and created as a way for the global festivals and events industry to encourage and support positive local environments for festivals and events worldwide.

Denver’s award recognizes the commitment Denver has to provide an environment conducive to successful festivals and events. A look at the calendar shows just how many highly successful festivals and events we host.

The award is significant because it helps focus attention on Denver as an event and festival destination - which also helps attract convention business - and that means economic activity and that means jobs. Festivals, events and the Arts are significant economic generators – much more so than people often understand. Event, festival and Arts tourism is a critical part of our economy and can be more so.

Whether it is The Cherry Creek Arts Festival (also honored at this year’s IFEA), A marathon, the Women’s Final Four, a Tony-award winning Theatre Company or the Clyfford Still Museum, the economic impact of those events and venues ripples through the entire economy.

We are fortunate in Denver, that city leadership really understands the positive economic impact of the Arts and of festivals and events and has made a commitment to continue fostering and to enhance a positive atmosphere.

In that light, let me salute the leadership of Mayor Michael Hancock, whose commitment to the Arts and festivals and events has been clearly demonstrated. Let me also saluteKent Rice and Ginger White for their leadership.

When the merger of the city’s Theatre’s and Arenas Division with the Office of Cultural Affairs into the new Arts and Venues was proposed, I was skeptical. How would this work? Won’t the Arts just get swallowed up or become a step-child?
Well, I was wrong. I am happy to say I was wrong. This has turned out to be a wonderful thing. There is a synergy now that is a real benefit to the Arts community and to the former Theatres and Arenas.

And I believe that it has turned out so well in no small part because of the leadership of Kent as the Director and Ginger as the Deputy. We are fortunate to have them both working for the city.

With the merger, there is an increased energy and enhanced role in promoting the Arts, events and festivals and marketing the city and our venues as an Arts, events, and cultural destination.

And as we move forward with the development of a Cultural Plan for the city and other strategic initiatives from both the Arts side and the Venues side, their leadership bodes well for a very bright future for the Arts in Denver.

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