When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Denver, Athena Project, like so many cultural organizations, saw their earned revenue streams and donations be depleted practically overnight. Despite this stark financial reality, the organization knew that this wasn’t the moment to step back – it was a time to step up.
Athena Project supports women in the Denver Metro area through the arts and creates a world with gender equity where women’s voices are amplified. When women account for just 25% of the playwrights produced across the Rocky Mountain Region, just 5% of American music producers, and only 30% of major American museums directors, there is a lot of work to be done to nurture women’s artistic expression, create equality of opportunity, and advocate for recognition and pay based on merit.
The economic impact of the pandemic disproportionally affects women and people of color, and the arts and culture sector is one of the industries that is particularly struggling, so Athena Project has continued to support its community with an impressive combination of initiatives and programs. A few of their innovative projects include:
- Fashion in Action: In collaboration with the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design Fashion Department, Athena Project involved students, fashion designers, and local stitchers to create masks for folks in need such as assisted living facilities, women’s clinics, nurses, teachers and the homeless community.
- Artists Finding Their Way: Through a partnership with the University of Denver’s Trauma Disaster & Recovery Clinic, this project was a virtual meet-up held from April to June for artists to connect and share how they were doing during the pandemic. These gatherings provided the right balance of positivity and the opportunity to vent for artists.
- Art for Hope: Residents and employees of assisted living communities have been especially isolated due to COVID-19, so this project with Print Pointe sponsored four pieces of artwork that were created by local women artists on postcards that were sent to the assisted living communities.
- #ArtFindsUs: Athena Project collaborated with K Contemporary Gallery to bring visual and performing artists to the streets of Denver’s eleven districts in June, July, and August. Once a month, a mobile group of artists traveled along different routes in neighborhoods across the city to offer a socially-distanced opportunity to view art.
- #Ballottothebox: Using a text platform, this social outreach campaign connected local artists with Denverites who needed assistance with getting their ballots submitted, highlighting the large number of artists who have been impacted by the current economy but still manage to make substantial contributions to their community.
The pandemic continues to present unprecedented challenges for everyone, so Athena Project continues to pivot for the coming year with innovative programming that responds to the moment and uplifts women’s voices.
Consider making a gift to a local arts and cultural organization, such as Athena Project, or to one of the cultural relief funds. For even more ideas on how to give and support the arts this holiday season, check out all of the ideas at Arts through it All.