Support the arts and have a beer at Start the Art benefit concert tonight

A ticket to tonight's Start the Art benefit concert buys more than just a night of good food, a cold beer and music by Westword Music Showcase nominee Josh Novak -- it buys a chance to support a brand-new initiative to ensure kids' access to arts education.

Event organizers Chris Fabian and Sarah Murray have teamed up with the Denver Art Society on the concert, where they'll unveil plans for the Treehouse Youth Art School, designed to generate a renaissance in the arts and "take the first step towards guaranteeing every child's right to the arts," Murray says.

Murray and Fabian, both Denver residents, are regular participants in First Friday at Denver's Art District on Santa Fe, and liked what the Denver Art Society was doing. They decided to get involved, and the result is tonight's fundraising concert that will cater to music lovers and arts supporters equally. It also serves as evidence that patrons don't have to be passive supporters of causes and projects they appreciate -- they can engage, and it works to everyone's benefit when they do.

A nonprofit founded in 2009 with the goal of fostering creativity and art in Denver, the Denver Art Society is housed at 734 Santa Fe Drive, where it offers free classes; gives independent artists space to work, collaborate and exhibit; and hosts events. The Treehouse Youth Art School is the latest project in its repertoire, aimed at ensuring that local kids always have access to an arts education.

The Treehouse will give kids a safe place to learn and practice art for free -- but it will take money to make it happen. The Start the Art concert is designed to jump-start that process; it's already drawn support from local businesses, including Fancy Tiger Clothing, Great Divide Brewing Company, Falling Rock Tap House, Stranahan's Whiskey, El Noa Noa Restaurant and Interstate Bar & Kitchen.

The Start the Art Benefit Concert starts at 7 p.m. tonight at 734 Santa Fe. For more information on Start the Art, Treehouse Youth Art School or Denver Art Society, and to buy tickets, visit the group's website.

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