"For me, it's the way Dana works her magic," artist Tracy Tomko gushes unapologetically. "Dana has been a great source of inspiration and support to delve deeper and put my thoughts into paint. Sometimes it's just the way she makes this positive gasp in front of the wet paint that's unfolding on the easel, when she drops by the studio, breathing confidence and vitality into future brushstrokes. It wouldn't be a stretch to call her a mentor. If there's a 'Home Town Hero' of the art community in Denver, Dana Cain is my nomination."

And for rising painter Mark Penner Howell, it's Dana's fearlessness that makes her stand out: "When I first met her, she had this surprising presence; she was unlike anyone I'd known before. She was so straightforward, and she had no barriers to picking up the phone cold and saying, in my case, 'I love your art. I saw your show. You don't know me, but I was blown away by your art. Can I buy a painting?' That was wonderful, as an artist, to get that kind of reception. I ended up selling her a painting right away. After getting to know her as a friend over time, I find her a remarkable resource. She's introduced me to people who've ended up being very important to me in my career."

Kym Bloom, another artist, who's known Dana since the Atomic days, says, "She is practically a force of nature in the art community. She supports artists like no one I've ever seen, and it's not just about buying and hanging a piece of art on the wall. She's going to every show, talking to artists, supporting artists she loves, and she's very vocal about it."

Dana Cain feels at home in Denver's arts scene.
Dana Cain feels at home in Denver's arts scene.

"She's a catalyst," agrees Penner Howell. "She puts people together all the time. That's a function that she clearly plays in the local art community, but now she's scaling it up with this whole county fair thing. She's plugging communities into each other at a much higher level. Not everybody can take on that kind of role, yet we all benefit from it. Dana is just a really unique person, and I don't know what Denver would be without her."

Indeed, Dana — the collector, the one-woman artist-support group, the event planner, the cultural civic booster, the Enneagram Social 7 — likes to quote Barack Obama's recent State of the Union speech by saying of herself, "We do big things."

"I love that my heroes are all people like Walt Disney and Gene Roddenberry," she says. "The thing I love about planning events is giving big groups who think like me something fun to do, joining people to gather around a common cause and building community — that's what I love.

"It lets me feel like the event isn't just for me," she adds, "but that I'm also helping all these other entrepreneurs get the message out and make money, and give the public something cool to do."

For updates on all of Dana Cain's events, go to showandtelldenver.com, where you'll also find that Cain is the first of our 100 Colorado Creatives. We'll count down the rest on the blog. E-mail susan.froyd@westword.com.

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7 comments
Helena
Helena

Dana are you into the Enneagram, or is that the author? I do event planning, spiritual retreats, marketing for Sunrise Ranch Retreat Center so I loved reading about you!

Bored
Bored

Dana is a legend in her own mind. Her events are boring and self serving.

Rick Griffith
Rick Griffith

This lady could be the hardest working gal in showbiz. You just gotta love what she does for our city.

Acneth
Acneth

If you don't love Dana, it's possible that you are dead inside.

Guest
Guest

Dana Cain is all that's right about Denver. Love that girl!

Dana Cain
Dana Cain

Hi, Helena. I am actually certified and trained to teach the Enneagram. I love it ... I studied with Julia Foster, who learned it from Helen Palmer. What type are you? Event Planning is a dream job for 7s! :) Thanks for the nice comment.

Dana Cain
Dana Cain

Sorry you are bored. I will try to do better.

 
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