2020 NASAA Leadership Awards: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Agency Award

Colorado Creative Industries

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) has named Colorado Creative Industries the recipient of its inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Agency Award. This award recognizes a state arts agency that has fostered and developed diversity, equity and inclusion in its work and shown insight and fortitude in advancing DEI across the state.

Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) strives to address, support and advance diversity, equity and inclusion within its programs, organization and networks.

Over the past 10 years, CCI has prioritized economic development in some of the most rural and lowest-income counties across the state. Through its unique program, Space to Create, and certified Creative Districts Program, CCI supports rural artists and communities helping to develop thriving creative sectors and preserving the rich history and culture of rural Colorado.

CCI is also a founding partner of Arts in Society, a collaborative grant-making program that funds cross-sector work through the arts in Colorado. CCI has leveraged private funding from arts and health focused foundations to support artists, activists and grass-roots collaborations that use the arts to address social justice and community health and well-being across the state. With a strong DEI focus in all aspects of the program, Arts in Society is a model for how state arts agencies can collaborate with private foundations and community organizations to promote social justice and community well-being through the arts.

Motus Theater is a CCI grant recipient. Photo by Michael Ensminger, courtesy of Motus Theater

In addition, CCI supports the development of individuals and community leaders through its Change Leader program. CCI amplifies the work of social justice artists through awards and designations such as the state’s Poet Laureate and Music Ambassador programs. Members of the CCI staff serve on the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. CCI is a founding member of Art of Access—an alliance of Colorado cultural organizations working to promote accessibility and inclusion within the arts. CCI is committed to dedicating time and resources to learning about systemic racism and other forms of inequity, and ensuring that its work and programs promote an equitable and vibrant arts sector in Colorado.

“NASAA congratulates Colorado Creative Industries as the inaugural recipient of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award, our field’s highest honor for a state arts agency demonstrating innovative and exceptional efforts to support and advance DEI in its state,” said NASAA President and CEO Pam Breaux. “CCI’s collaborative leadership programs, extensive work in rural communities, cross-sector partnerships and commitment to its own organizational accountability are truly exemplary—a wonderful model to lift up for other state arts agencies. NASAA is thrilled to recognize CCI’s sustained, timely and impactful achievements with this award.”

NASAA established the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards to recognize the policies, practices and programs of state arts agencies that embrace and advance diversity, equity and inclusion in their states. NASAA celebrates the diversity that enriches and strengthens our nation, and through this award aims to support and elevate state arts agencies in their efforts to lead in this area. The award for agencies includes $2,500 to be used in support of the recipient’s diversity, equity and inclusion work.