Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Katie Kruger

#80: Katie Kruger

When we think of "creatives," we often think of "creators" -- artists, authors, musicians and actors. But Katie Kruger breaks out of that box. From her vantage point as board co-chair for the Denver Art Museum's CultureHaus young professionals group, which works to encourage cultural philanthropy in an up-and-coming demographic, she's had the chance to spin a few creative ideas of her own about how arts institutions can grow wider constituencies.

Her new initiative, Cross-Cultured, takes the gospel of an established group such as CultureHaus and applies it to others like it, from the Colorado Symphony's Remix to the Denver Film Society's Reel Social Club, giving the young professional crowd a chance to sample events hosted by ten different cultural organizations for the price of a single temporary membership.

Kruger, who loves and is inspired by art, has a lot to say about why it's important to have some in your life. Read on to learn more from her 100CC questionnaire.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Stephen Batura

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

Wow, this is a tough one. I of course want to say someone who changed the shape of humanity and fought for the rights of the disenfranchised. That said, in the context of artistic collaboration, I would say Peggy Guggenheim because she proved essential to establishing the modern art movement in America and worked to bring many European abstract expressionist and surrealist artists to our country who were fleeing intellectual persecution by the Nazis during World War II. Ultimately, I'd like to support her gallery Art of This Century and help define modernism and contemporary art for decades to come.

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

Rihanna...sometimes a girl's just gotta dance.

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

Elitism. I look forward to a community that cultivates excellence within its cultural institutions while delivering that excellent programing to an inclusive and varied audience.

What's your day job?

Ha! I might have the least interesting day job of any of the 100 Colorado Creatives. I work in strategic accounts for an IT company that contracts services to the U.S. federal government. In pursuit of my creative passions, I also serve as board co-chair for the Denver Art Museum's CultureHaus group and am the founder of the new Cross-Cultured collaborative effort.

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

I would create a foundation. Funding innovation and supporting the genius in others would be personally fulfilling and benefit our community at large.

Continue reading for more from Katie Kruger. What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?

Denver could take a few more risks. The safe choice is rarely notable. While we have many successes -- the SCFD sales tax, for example -- I fear that some leaders and institutions are so entrenched in outdated viewpoints and processes that we too often end up with the "safe" choice. This overreliance on protecting the establishment can result in missed opportunities and alienate us from future audiences.

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

Brian Corrigan. OhHeckYeah, Brian's initiative, will dramatically impact how citizens interact with art and culture. I hear so much from institutions about moving the viewer experience from passive observation to direct participation and engagement. OhHeckYeah's immersive vision is on the forefront of this movement.

What's on your agenda in the coming year?

I have two primary goals for this year:

1) I want to further the mission of the Denver Art Museum's CultureHaus support group, raising awareness for the DAM, bringing in new members, and hosting the best social and educational events for our membership. The Denver Art Museum produces inspired exhibitions and is such a fun place to hang out. I hope to expose our city's best-kept secret through enticing CultureHaus programs.

2) Complete a successful launch of the Cross-Cultured collaboration. I am currently spearheading a community calendar initiative between ten of the city's largest cultural institutions, whereby individuals can purchase a $30, four-month membership and receive access to exclusive events and discounted performances from July 1 to October 31, 2014.

Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in 2014?

I think she is already getting great recognition, but am hugely impressed with the work of Sandra Fettingis. Her star is definitely rising and shining bright. Fettingis's work appeals to me because of its sophisticated use of geometry and compositional structure. She capitalizes on the ground work laid by Piet Mondrian, while adding whimsy and innovation through a dramatic manipulation of scale (earrings to installations) and expanding to include a variety of geometric shapes.

Want to get cultured? The Cross-Cultured website launches on Friday May 23. Katie Kruger and Cross-Cultured will also host a free party to introduce the initiative at DADA Art Bar on May 29. Learn more about CultureHaus 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.

To keep up with the Froyd's eye view of arts and culture in Denver, "like" my fan page on Facebook.

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