Investing in Social Change Through Arts and Culture

Through artistic expression, individuals from diverse backgrounds have a platform to share their stories, experiences and unique identities. Exposure to various forms of art can also help dismantle stereotypes, reduce prejudices and cultivate a sense of unity within communities. In 2023, Rose Community Foundation awarded $382,000 to 29 organizations promoting social change and justice through arts and culture programming. These grants supported initiatives that engage and reflect diverse communities and actively foster inclusion across different demographics. 

One grantee, the Colorado African Cultural Center, brought their community together at Denver’s seventh annual Dashiki Festival, a day-long celebration of African American fashion, music and culture.   

“The festival exceeded our expectations and brought together over 4,000 attendees from diverse backgrounds to learn about African culture,” says Coreen Zakaria, director of program operations and development at the Center. “The grant we received was instrumental in ensuring the festival remained free for all attendees, allowing us to reach a broader audience and achieve our goals of awareness, diversity, integration and unity.” 

Another grantee, Denver Art Musem’s Native Arts – Artist in Residence Program focuses on elevating Indigenous perspectives through the creative process. Artists share their stories, experiences and creativity and can utilize the museum’s resources to grow their practice. This year, Denver Art Museum is partnering with Dylan McLaughlin of the Navajo Nation, a multidisciplinary artist who looks critically at threatened ecosystems.  

“Funding from the Foundation enables the museum to better document and understand the impact this program has on local artists and museum visitors,” says Rachel Goldberg, major gifts officer at Denver Art Museum.  

Grants were also made to organizations that promoted positive social change. The Foundation supported Motus Theater in the development and presentation of autobiographical monologues designed to shift perceptions and inspire policy change. One production, Just Us, exposes the effects of the criminal legal system on individuals, while UndocuAmerica highlights the experiences of undocumented community leaders. TRANSformative Stories uplifts the voices of transgender and non-binary people as they navigate liberation while challenging anti-LGBTQIA+ narratives.  

“The collaboration between our organization and Rose enabled us to engage thousands through two major touring projects and premiere a new monologue series uplifting the voices of transgender and non-binary community members,” says Cristian Solano-Cordova, communications, outreach and development director for Motus Theater. “We are able to share that which is at the center of all these leaders’ stories and struggles – their humanity.” 

Another organization, Platte Forum, creates a space where professional Resident Artists work side by side with young artists to create a body of work that is reflective of a global voice. Artists explore social issues together and, in the process, youth participants develop academic, professional, emotional and leadership skills.  

“The arts bring youth and artists in the door, while the wraparound resources, workforce development, caring community and mental health services ensure they have opportunities to reach their goals,” says Michael Gadlin, executive director of Platte Forum. “This grant helps to support arts and culture projects in our city and also the families, youth, artists and communities behind them.”

The full list of 2023 Arts and Culture grantees is below: 

City and County of Broomfield 

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance 

Colorado African Cultural Center 

Colorado Business Committee for the Arts 

Colorado Native Organization 

Creative Strategies for Change 

The Cultural Caravan 

Curious Theatre Company 

Denver Art Museum Native Arts Artist-in-Residence

The Denver VOICE 

Downtown Aurora Visual Arts 

The Fax Partnership 

History Colorado 

In Lak’ech Denver Arts 

JMF Corporation 

Mirror Image Arts  

Motus Theater 

Museo de las Americas 

Museum of Contemporary Art Denver 


RedLine Contemporary Art Center 


Su Teatro Inc. 

Union Hall 

Vintage Theatre 

Vocal Coalition Youth Choirs 

The Word, A storytelling Sanctuary, Inc.  

Words to Power 

Youth on Record 

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