An effort is underway to crank up the music in Denver.
Mayor Michael B. Hancock believes music-based initiatives can be an agent for quality of life improvements, economic development, education and diversity. That’s why grants through the Denver Music Advancement Fund of up to $7,500 – totaling $80,000 – are being offered for strategies that leverage local talent and resources and position the city as a world-class hub for the performing arts.
The Denver Music Advancement Fund is supported by a community-led platform that includes investments from Denver Arts & Venues and partners at Illegal Pete’s and LivWell Enlightened Health.
Music has become a major part of Denver culture, thanks, in part, to Red Rocks, which Rolling Stone Magazine calls America’s best amphitheater. Not surprisingly the, music industry has created more than 8,500 jobs and $842.4 million in revenue, according to analysis by the Denver Music Strategy. The study also found that music has become one of Denver’s fastest growing industries in the area for employment, surpassing energy, aerospace and biotech.
But in a city where an exploding population and economic forces like the tech sector and the cannabis business are driving up real estate prices, many musicians are struggling to make ends meet.
Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com and the business and individual grants website, MWBEzone.com, said funds are available from foundations, corporations and local agencies to level the playing field for emerging talent and fledgling programs that support musicians and the performing arts. GrantWatch provides the platform for venues, musicians, promoters, studios, and educators to identify these music grants and promote artistic growth while fostering partnerships that build and maintain a music sector.
Michael Seman, director of creative industries research and policy in the College of Arts & Media at the University of Colorado Denver, said a healthy music scene attracts innovation.
No city knows better than Nashville, where the music industry supports more than 56,000 jobs in the area and impacts the local economy by some $10 billion annually. But, the “Music City” is not without neighbors. Other locations throughout North America have joined Denver and are taking a hard look at how music can spur job creation, economic growth and tourism while strengthening brand.
Affordable housing and securing places for musicians to play and rehearse will be at the core of Vancouver’s strategy. The City Council recently unanimously approved immediate measures to improve the city’s music ecology, with plans for a comprehensive plan to be announced next year. The actions, which included $400,000 in grants for music-focused projects, were prompted by a report that valued Vancouver’s music industry at $690 million. In terms of economic impact, the induced Gross Value Added (GVA) from music is expected to be more than $1.5 billion.
Musicians, music festivals, and venues in Vancouver were also found to generate more than “$172 million per year in additional revenue” through restaurants, parking, accommodations, and other hospitality services while supporting some 14,450 jobs.
Musicians, venues, nonprofits, community-based groups and municipalities frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for grants can identify funding opportunities in support of culture and the performing arts that are easy to read and simple to comprehend at GrantWatch.com. Sign-up to receive the weekly GrantWatch newsletter which features geographic-specific funding opportunities.
About the Author: Staff Writer at GrantWatch