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Denver Artists Are Creating a "Local MTV" to Bring Community Together

Members of We Are Denver and the Black Actors Guild are seeking video submissions from artists and musicians to be broadcast in an eight-hour stream.EXPAND
Members of We Are Denver and the Black Actors Guild are seeking video submissions from artists and musicians to be broadcast in an eight-hour stream.
Jake Myles

We Are Denver and the the Black Actors Guild are assembling an online video library of work by artists, musicians and other creative people stuck inside because of the coronavirus outbreak currently gripping the world.

“The purpose is sort of philanthropic,” says artist and organizer Ryan Foo. “We want to have a live stream that people can tune into and be entertained by, but every time someone’s stuff gets showcased, there will be an opportunity to donate directly to them. Things are kind of crazy right now, especially for artists in the event production realm.”

Foo is the director of operations for the Black Actors Guild and a lead producer at We Are Denver. He says the streaming service runs like a television channel with five-minute PSA-type messages from local artists and check-ins with popular artists from around town. It will possibly have as much as eight hours of programming repeated three times a day. The content will be available on multiple platforms, including a website, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

The self-isolation and social distancing resulting from the coronavirus has already hit the creative community hard, Foo says, and he hopes the project will keep people connected.

“It’s like a loop, but it will be a ton of content,” Foo says. “You will have to try pretty hard to see the same stuff twice.”

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We Are Denver has built art installations around town and run a recording studio called the Pod Space, so the organization already has experience putting together live streams. The Black Actors Guild will also be providing sketches and fake commercials to add to the content.

As of Monday, the organization had received 75 submissions. When it gets to 300, it will launch the stream, hopefully sometime in April.

Foo says that the current content submitted includes work by musicians, poets, actors, comedians, dancers, creative businesses and performance artists.

“It’s really an even split,” he says. “The most right now is ‘other,’ so whatever that means. The second most would be musicians. We’re probably going to be showcasing music videos and popular musicians first. It’s entertaining, and it feels like local MTV.”

Submissions are open to anyone in Colorado, but Foo says the stream will focus on Denver artists.

“It’s a call to support local artists,” he says. “That’s who we want to help. We want to help them get paid. And we actually have some sponsors, and any sponsorship money we bring in, we are going to divvy up between creatives.”

He says artists are also being asked to record three-to-five-minute optimistic check-ins.

“This is in response to the coronavirus,” he says. “It’s not like some random thing we happen to be doing now. It’s a way to get artists who are stuck in their homes to record some potentially new stuff in their living room and share it with the community. And the community can reciprocate.”

Information on how to submit is available at wearedenver.org

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