Denver Arts and Venues Music Advancement Fund Open for Applications | Westword

Denver Arts & Venues Will Award $75,000 to Music Projects

The Denver Music Advancement Fund marches on.
Inside the headquarters of Youth on Record, one of the recipients of the Denver Music Advancement Fund last year.
Inside the headquarters of Youth on Record, one of the recipients of the Denver Music Advancement Fund last year. Brandon Marshall
Share this:
Over the past two years, Denver Arts & Venues has been awarding local musicians and music-centric organizations grants as part of the Denver Music Advancement Fund. This year, that fund includes a combined $75,000 for grants to Denver-based, music-centered projects driving economic vibrancy and building a more resilient, equitable and connected city while creating positive social change.

This year, Denver Arts & Venues is teaming up with Illegal Pete’s and a new 2020 partner, Take Note Colorado, a statewide initiative to provide access to musical instruments and instruction to K-12 students.

“Take Note is proud to be a part of the Denver Music Advancement Fund, which aligns perfectly with our goal to provide music instruments and instruction,” says Walt DeHaven, Take Note Colorado chair and CBS4 general manager, in a statement. “It is so important right now that we continue to help our students to have meaningful music experiences.”

The Denver Music Advancement Fund is accepting grant proposals from August 28 through October 2. The effort is being funded by Denver Arts & Venues and partners at Illegal Pete’s and Take Note Colorado, and will provide grant opportunities of up to $7,500 per grant to individuals and organizations supporting Denver’s music ecosystem.

And that ecosystem has been hit hard by the coronavirus. A recent study by Denver Arts & Venues in partnership with Colorado Creative Industries and Colorado State University estimates that 4,525 jobs and $213.7 million in sales revenue have been lost in Denver’s music industry since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While this year has been as challenging a year as the restaurant industry has ever seen, it’s been equally or more challenging for our music and arts community,” says Pete Turner, founder and owner of Illegal Pete’s, in a statement. “Though Illegal Pete’s is fighting the existential threat we are all fighting, we’re proud that we will still be able to partner in presenting the 2020 Denver Music Advancement Fund. Our creative communities need all of the support that we can offer right now; it is even more important now to celebrate the light and breath that these communities provide.”

Denver Music Advancement Fund applicants can be individuals, businesses, educational institutions, nonprofit or community organizations located in the City and County of Denver, or entities outside of the City and County of Denver collaborating with Denver-based applicants or supporting City and County of Denver residents through their programming. Denver Arts & Venues encourages proposals that do one or more of the following:

• Respond to current COVID-19-related programming gaps
• Advance positive change in societal inequities
• Use music to create a more empathetic and equitable society
• Demonstrate a clear understanding of a population that lacks access to music
• Address a specific need with inclusive and culturally relevant programming
• Explore a broad range of musical genres
• Engage and benefit diverse and historically marginalized communities
• Provide student-centered and culturally relevant instruments and instruction
• Have potential for significant artistic and cultural impact on a community
• Support career growth and capacity-building to help build workforce in difficult times
• Explore global and culturally diverse connections
• Emphasize sustained music-making and other experiential approaches to music instruction
• Devise and test new ideas to address emergency preparedness and planning

Funded projects must take place in 2020-2021 calendar years and demonstrate financial, time and/or in-kind resource matches. For full guidelines, criteria and application instructions, please visit
Can you help us continue to share our stories? Since the beginning, Westword has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver — and we'd like to keep it that way. Our members allow us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls.