Denver’s Bonfils-Stanton Foundation last week awarded $553,000 in grants to a dozen area arts and culture organizations, including Five Points dance institution Cleo Parker Robinson Dance ($100,000) and the Colorado Symphony Association ($100,000), but also newer organizations such as Denver Digerati ($15,000, for its Supernova animation festival) and Rainbow Militia ($13,000, for its Zabiti Project).
The foundation this week also announced former Denver Arts & Venues executive director Kent Rice will join the organization’s board, strengthening connections to the city’s arts and culture and political machinery, as longtime trustee Dr. John E. Repine steps down after 17 years. “Kent’s deep knowledge of Denver’s arts and cultural landscape will certainly be an invaluable asset to the Foundation as we strive to foster a creative, inspiring, and connected community in the Denver region,” said Bonfils-Stanton president Gary Steuer in a press statement.
Since its founding, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation has distributed more than $70 million in charitable contributions.
Artists Are Transforming Ratio this Saturday for an Immersive Party
303 Magazine 12/6/2018 By: Cori Anderson
Every year, RiNo’s Ratio Beerworks supports the Denver art community by inviting artists to transform their brewery during the Genius Wizard Imperial Stout release party. Of course, the transformation must fall into the theme of “Genius Wizard” — although exactly how it does that is up to the artist…
It makes sense that Amber Blais was drawn to the circus life: The woman knows how to juggle. But we’re not talking about multicolored balls or chainsaws here; Blais knows how to handle a tricky schedule. She spent more than five years as the communications manager for Wonderbound, a local contemporary dance troupe, and in her limited hours outside of work, she launched two creative enterprises. Raconteur Denver is a free bimonthly storytelling series held around town (mostly at coffeeshops and bars) à la New York City’s the Moth; Rainbow Militia, which Blais co-founded, is a circus collective that performs collaborative productions with local musicians and artists. “[Those endeavors] took up pretty much all of my free time,” she says. “There were times my friends would ask me to do things, and I would say no because I was working on my passion projects.”
Both ventures were artistic outlets for Blais and a way for her to connect with the local creative community outside of her job as a marketer; she wasn’t trying to make money (and her day job meant she didn’t need the extra income). She relied on apps such as Wunderlist and ColorNote to keep all of her proverbial balls in the air. “You have to be willing to put a lot of hours into it,” she says. Those would be evening hours and early morning hours and weekend hours, because as any side hustler knows, most of her income will continue to come from her full-time job—unless that side hustle starts paying some, if not all, of the bills.
When she started wanting to further stretch her creative muscles this past summer, Blais parted ways with Wonderbound and is now working to turn her secondary pursuits—circus performance, in particular—into something more. Since they aren’t yet bringing in enough to cover day-to-day expenses, Blais is juggling again, taking on contract marketing projects and splitting rent with roommates—all while conceiving Rainbow Militia’s first major production. Zabiti, inspired by Russian folktales, is expected to premiere in August 2019. It’s not easy, and Blais admits it’s a struggle to cobble together a reasonable income. She isn’t giving up though. “I didn’t start off doing the side hustle and thinking I wanted it to be my full-time career…. It was just a fun thing to do and it made me really happy,” Blais says. “I’m running with it.”