Not surprisingly, though, since these artists are MasterMinds, they've given a lot of thought to how the local environment for the arts can be improved.

"The thing we need to build...is permanence. We've seen too many local artists leave for larger markets with more support for their arts community. Small organizations have been squeezed out by rent increases from the communities they themselves helped to revitalize. The city needs to help organizations plant roots in Denver. We need to own (or co-own) our facilities, and collaborate more in cooperative arts programs across the metro area."

"Provide education to promote the power of art to elicit health and healing, to change lives and to create a safe way in which struggling young people can find acceptance, connection and transformation."

"Hands down, the general public has to put their money where their mouth is and buy the work."

"Cross-pollination and more collaboration. Too often, people are working on their own projects and do not know about other projects that could provide symbiosis, strengthening the entire arts community."

"Provide funding to achieve those ends, so that artists, activists and nonprofits can offer that transformation to the community without the ongoing struggle to survive financially."

"We need to make sure the creative community has a voice in the community. We need to make sure this city is aware of the people and organizations who make this town so special."

"More citywide programs that focus on and support local art and artists. Initiatives like Denver Arts Week, Westword's MasterMinds and Create Denver are great examples of programs that help bring public attention to the thriving arts community in Denver. These types of programs also help bring more national exposure to Denver's art scene as an art destination. There is great talent here, amazing talent, in fact; we need to be proud of what we have in our own back yard."

There's a garden of good art growing in Denver's back yard. All it needs is some cultivation — and, when possible, some cold, hard cash.

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