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100 Colorado Creatives: Brian Corrigan

The OhHeckYeah Kickstarter video goes live during Denver Digerati's Friday Flash in September.
The OhHeckYeah Kickstarter video goes live during Denver Digerati's Friday Flash in September.

#40: Brian Corrigan.

Brian Corrigan dreams big -- in 3D -- and his latest project means to recreate cyberspace live on the streets of downtown Denver next summer as a way of bringing people and ideas together through life-sized gaming. If all goes according to plan, OhHeckYeah: An Immersive Street Arcade will utilize existing LED screens, monumental projections on buildings and street art in the Denver Theatre District to turn Champa Street between 14th Street and the 16th Street Mall into a living arcade, bringing characters alive via social media, cell phones and motion-controlled Microsoft Kinect devices. The underlying idea is one of creative community, that people who meet on the street through engaging in a game might go on to spark collaborations in the business world, too.

"I think the next creative economy is going to be a mash-of up Silicon Valley and Madison Avenue and Hollywood, and that's what Denver is -- all of those things are working together here," Corrigan says. "And the overarching thing about living in a real city is that you should be able to walk out of your house and just stumble onto the fun. If we can get one person to take an idea off the shelf and dust it off, we will have succeeded."

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Hollis + Lana

Brian Corrigan and the OhHeckYeah team in the sound studio.
Brian Corrigan and the OhHeckYeah team in the sound studio.

OhHeckYeah already has financial backing from the Denver Theatre District and through a $200,000 grant from ArtPlace America, but a gigantic cyber-playground of its scale -- featuring work by such nationally-known local digital agencies as Legwork Studio and Mode Set -- doesn't come cheaply. To that end, Corrigan recently launched a lofty $100,000 Kickstarter which runs through October 26.

Corrigan's not a stranger to this kind of project, and has acted as the behind-the-scenes guy on equally magical, if smaller, multimedia events for Create Denver. What makes him tick? We asked him to take our 100 Colorado Creatives questionnaire; his answers follow.

Continue reading for our interview with Brian Corrigan.  

100 Colorado Creatives: Brian Corrigan

Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?

Brian Corrigan: Four years ago, I moved to Denver from Washington, D.C., because of the creative community. I was teaching design at the Corcoran College of Art + Design and noticed most of the cool work I'd show to students was being produced in Denver. Since moving here, I've been fortunate to work with some of Colorado's best talent. In many ways, my dream to collaborate with people I admire is happening now.

Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?

Two people: Robert Hammond, co-founder of New York City's High Line, and Carol Coletta, vice president of Community and National Initiatives at the Knight Foundation. Robert Hammond for his boldness to make the impossible possible, all while creating one of the world's best public spaces. Carol Coletta for her ability to make change happen. They both excel at bringing diverse groups of people together to do great things.

What's one art trend you want to see die this year?

Not putting yourself out there, being afraid of failure and any other reason that gets in the way of trying to make something happen.

What's your day job?

I'm working on a project called OhHeckYeah: An Immersive Street Arcade with ArtPlace America, Legwork Studio, Mode Set, Denver Theatre District and the Downtown Denver Partnership. The street arcade will happen Summer 2014 on Champa Street, between 14th Street and the 16th Street Mall, and will be powered by LED screens, projections on buildings, street art and custom video games. Research suggests that play makes us more creative, curious and even helps build trust between strangers. It's no coincidence that the most innovative companies in the world all have spaces for employees to play with each other. But why do we have to confine this to the office? Chance encounters matter to the way innovation happens. By infusing play into the street, we hope to connect people into new friendships, create economic opportunity for all and just make being downtown a whole lot more fun.

Continue reading for our interview with Brian Corrigan.  

An OHY laser-cut arcade coin.
An OHY laser-cut arcade coin.

A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?

I love ideas and the people who take chances to make them happen. I'd create a foundation that would help support this.

What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?

Effectively communicate the value of creative thinking.

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

Anyone taking a risk to build a better tomorrow.

What's on your agenda for the rest of 2013 and beyond?

Fundraising. The total cost of the OhHeckYeah Street Arcade is $750,000. We received $200,000 from ArtPlace America in May, $25,000 from the Denver Theatre District and have in-kind contributions totaling $250,000. The remaining costs we're seeking funds from local foundations and corporate sponsors. We also just launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise $100,000 from the community. The street arcade will be free for the public to play. By becoming a project backer on Kickstarter, we'll give you extra access and cool rewards. We are offering FastPasses so the wait to play is shorter, voting rights to decide what video game characters we "hire" and even access to a secret game code that will make you win every time. OhHeckYeah!

Who do you think will get noticed in Denver's arts community this year?

Delaney McLaughlin, the voice-over talent in our OhHeckYeah Kickstarter video. She has a very bright future and some really great parents. And my nephew Eli Voyich, he coined the name for OhHeckYeah. He has really great parents (and sister) too. Learn more about Brian Corrigan online. Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.

Do you have a suggestion for a future profile? Feel free to leave your picks in the comments.



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