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Ginger White Brunetti

Ginger White Brunetti is hopeful that concerts can return to Red Rocks Amphitheatre by summer 2021. (Photo provided by Ginger White Brunetti)

By John Wenzel, The Denver Post | Forecasting cultural conditions through the end of 2021 is impossible because we simply don’t have enough information. The next months’ trajectory of infections, vaccinations and overall behavior will determine some of that course, but so will the federal, state and city agencies tasked with keeping us safe.

But because performing arts nonprofits plan their seasons several years out; because tens of thousands of people still hold tickets to postponed concerts; and because any glimmer of detail could be helpful right now, we’ve asked three Denver-area arts and culture leaders — along with other experts in recent days — how they see 2021’s artistic and cultural scene unfolding.

Here are their predictions, based on the latest data and analysis, and all are subject (very, very subject) to overnight change.

Ginger White
Executive director, Denver Arts & Venues, which owns and operates venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the Colorado Convention Center. White’s agency also distributed $1.5 million in relief to arts and culture organizations and individual artists through reappropriated budget and federal CARES Act dollars.

The challenge.
Reviving Denver’s arts economy, which is inextricable with downtown’s overall economy. Denver’s creative industries contributed $16.2 billion in sales revenue in 2019 — or 4% of all goods and services sold within the region, according to a city report — and the city’s cultural scene was on track for another record year of growth before the pandemic hit. So how do we get back there, or even to a point where nonprofit arts and culture companies, local artists and touring names can work on indoor stages again? White has some ideas.
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Deborah Jordy
Executive director, Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), the seven-county metro area special tax district that typically funds 300 arts and cultural nonprofits with $65 million annually. Its revenue, surprisingly, is only projected to dip by single-digit percentages for 2020, and none of its nonprofits have closed over the past year.

The challenge.
Helping monitor and stabilize finances at dozens of area arts and culture nonprofits. A recent SCFD survey found that nearly half of the 244 respondents had only four months or less of cash reserves on hand. Once recovery is under way — whatever that looks like — officials hope to start recapturing some of the pre-pandemic momentum of the city’s performing arts, gallery, museum, zoo and public-gardens scene, which was enjoying all-time attendance and revenue highs in 2019 and early 2020.
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Tony Garcia
Executive director, Su Teatro Cultural & Performing Arts Center, a nationally known theater in the Art District on Santa Fe that focuses on the Chicano/Latino experience. Garcia has also served on city and SCFD groups that have worked to equalize funding for smaller cultural nonprofits.

The challenge.
Bringing back live, indoor events, from theater to musical concerts and stand-up comedy. That will give companies and artists access to meaningful revenue — and the public access to new, locally produced art and culture, as well as (if all goes well) a handful of perpetually postponed touring shows.
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This is a long but comprehensive article with very important information:

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