Art News

Want to Hand Out SFCD Money? Denver County Cultural Council Seeks Members

Jim Hunt in The Zeus Problem at Buntport Theater, one of the groups funded by the Denver County Cultural Council.
Jim Hunt in The Zeus Problem at Buntport Theater, one of the groups funded by the Denver County Cultural Council. Buntport Theater
The Denver County Cultural Council, which dishes out nearly $2 million a year to small arts and culture groups in the city (which happens to also be the entire county) has a vacancy, and Denver City Council is taking applications until Monday, August 14, to fill the position.

The money granted through the DCCC comes from the seven-county Scientific and Cultural Facilities District penny-on-$10 sales tax. The revenues from that tax are dispersed in three levels: Tier I, limited to big groups like the Denver Art Museum, which are automatically funded according to an agreed-upon SCFD formula; Tier II, which gets a specific cut for mid-level groups like Opera Colorado; and Tier III, for smaller nonprofits like Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center and the Art Students League of Denver, which can apply for SCFD money through the county cultural councils.

Applicants for this Denver County slot should be actively involved in arts, culture, science or history either professionally, as advocates or as volunteers at the city or neighborhood level. They should be at least 21, residents of the county, and not serving on the staff or board of any of the groups applying for funding.

"[The Cultural] Council makes funding decisions with regard to taxpayers' dollars. We want to make sure it's representative of our taxpayers," Denver Arts & Venue's Tariana Navas-Nieves says of the composition of the DCCC. "We look for diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, age — the whole spectrum of diversity, so we can do the best job we can representing the interests of our residents."

Council applicants can request a three- to four-year term; members serve a maximum of six years. The group meets regularly throughout much of the spring and summer on Tuesday nights to interview groups seeking SCFD funding. "This is the hardest-working board that I've ever worked with. Even just as a time investment, it's a huge commitment," says Navas-Nieves.

A DCCC subcommittee will vet applications for the position and recommend a candidate to Denver City Council, which will make the final decision.

"I would love to have another artist," Navas-Nieves says. "We'll see what we get. I have to say I'm proud of the current council and the diversity that we've been able to achieve. Seven of our eleven members are people of color and of different ethnicities. In terms of gender and professional background, we are being very thoughtful about the process."

For more information, go to Denver Arts & Venues website or call Navas-Nieves at 720-865-5552.
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris