Join us in Denver for IdeaLab 2017!

Are you an artist, social entrepreneur or organizer? Do you want to connect to others to organize around racial equity and social justice? Do you believe in the power of creative storytelling? Join us for IdeaLab 2017 on April 14 in Denver to hear from exciting local and national organizers and artists, connect to like-minded creatives, and develop new relationships to move your projects forward.

Featured speakers and moderators include Steven Renderos of the Center for Media Justice in Los Angeles, CA, Esther Robinson, co-founder of ArtHome in New York City, Adam Horowitz, Chief Instigator of the U.S. Department of Arts & Culture, and Denver’s own poet Suzi Q. Smith, DJ & Cold Crush co-founder Musa Bailey, Louise Martorano of RedLine, Tony Garcia of Su Teatro, Nita Mosby Tyler of The Equity Project. More panelists and performers coming soon!

IdeaLab is organized by Confluence-Denver and Creative Exchange, and made possible through the generous support of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation. This program is supported by the Denver Arts & Venues Cultural Partner Program at the McNichols Civic Center Building. Read stories as part of this series on graffiti and development in Denver, artist spaces and displacement, and percent for art programs.

Connecting with artists, creatives and entrepreneurs shaping culture, sharing stories, making change

Fri, April 14, 2017
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM MDT
McNichols Civic Center Building
144 West Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80202

Registration link:

9:00 Gathering
9:30 Introduction & Welcome
10:00 Keynote – Steven Renderos – Center for Media Justice
11:00 Morning Panel – Artists Shaping the World
Moderated by Suzi Q. Smith
How are artists creatively building community and expanding the meaning of being an artist in the world? How are these systems building equity and access to resources? These artists share their work around building new networks and collaborations that reach more people and shape what’s possible for artists.
12:30 Networking Lunch
2:00 Afternoon Panel – Creative Community Organizing
Moderated by Nita Mosby Tyler
Creative organizing can build power in a movement. Hear from artists who are engaged in creative community efforts around new economic opportunities, challenging gentrification and displacement, building more equitable and engaged practices, and collecting the stories needed to move forward.
3:45 Connect & Next Steps
Connect at the end of the day with other attendees and speakers to discuss inspirations, ongoing questions, and next steps. Make connections, report out and find new connections.


Steven Renderos, Organizing Director, Center for Media Justice, Los Angeles, CA
Steven Renderos is the Organizing Director at the Center for Media Justice. He is passionate about the role of media and communications in building movements for social change. He’s been a community organizer for the past 10 years leading campaigns for affordable housing, immigrant rights and most recently communication rights. He helped lead CMJ’s advocacy and organizing efforts to win reforms that have made phone calls from prisons more affordable and the Internet more open and affordable. Previously, Steven led the Media Justice program at Main Street Project in Minneapolis, MN where he helped jumpstart a local collaborative that will be applied for a radio license in the fall 2013. Steven aka DJ Ren is also the co-founder of Radio Pocho, a collaborative of Latin@ radio DJs in Minneapolis whose mission is to explore the musical roots of Latinx raised in the United States. Steven grew up in Los Angeles, CA where he currently resides.

Musa Bailey, Co-Owner, Cold Crush, Denver, CO

Born in New Jersey, but raised in Denver, Colorado, Musa Bailey took to music early in life playing the drums, guitar, and saxophone. At age 13 he discovered the turntable and by age 18 he was participating in battles and slanging mixtapes on the streets of Denver. Over the next several years, DJ MU$A became a well-known mixologist in the Colorado club and rave circuit and was frequently asked to open for touring national acts like The Roots, Common, and The Pharcyde, as well as produce leading acts such as Saul Williams. In 2005, Musa founded Pulse Arts, a non-profit organization that focuses on art and music offering a variety of events and workshops for Denver youth. In 2013, he opened Cold Crush along with business partner Brian Mathenge, which has become an artistic, culinary and community hub.

Tony Garcia, Executive Artistic Director, Su Teatro, Denver, CO

Tony has been the Executive Artistic Director of El Centro Su Teatro since 1989 and has been a member of Su Teatro since 1972. He received his BA in Theatre from the University of Colorado at Denver. Tony has received numerous awards and accolades for his artistic vision, including the 1989 University of California, Irvine Chicano Literary Award, a 2006 United States Artists Fellowship, an artist residency at the Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska, and was named the Denver Post 2010 Theatre Person of the Year. Most recently, he received the prestigious Livingston Fellowship from the Bonfils Stanton Foundation. Tony is a past faculty member for the National Association of Latino Art and Culture (NALAC) Leadership Institute as well as a past board member, he is a peer trainer for the Colorado Creative Industries’ Peer Assistance Network, and a member of the Western State Arts Federation’s (WESTAF) Board of Trustees. Tony is also an adjunct professor at Metro State College in Denver.

Adam Horowitz, Chief Instigator, U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, Santa Fe, NM

Adam Horowitz is a “projectician”—a co-creator of sector-blurring, border-crossing projects rooted in storytelling, cultural exchange, and social change. Adam was Co-Executive Director of Bowery Arts + Science—which programs the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC—and has worked with numerous organizations at the intersection of arts, education, and social change, including the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, Ashoka, and The Future Project, where he was a founding team member. As a performer, musician, and researcher of intercultural exchange, he has worked with ensembles in Europe and in South America, presenting original work in forests, churches, public plazas, and living rooms, as well as traditional theaters. He has been an Artist in Residence at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at NYU and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Adam holds a BA from Yale University and was a Fulbright Scholar in Colombia, where he wrote about performance and politics for Theater Magazine, devised original theater pieces with teens, and printed out hundreds of posters for an imagined entity known as the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture.

Louise Martorano, Executive Director, RedLine, Denver, CO
Louise Martorano is honored and excited to be a part of the innovative art community at RedLine. She holds a M.H. from The University of Colorado at Denver with a focus in Contemporary Art History & Music and has ten years management experiences in both for-profit and non-profit arts organizations. In addition, Louise has four years experience in the film industry producing and fundraising for independent films that have received international festival recognition in Dallas, Austin, Poland and Denver. 2011 brought her first co-curated art production entitled Project Hello at Denver’s Taxi by Zeppelin complex. Project Hello was a juried exhibition of 40 emerging Denver artists working in film, design, craft, poetry, and music, culinary, visual and performing arts that welcomed over 400 visitors.

Nita Mosby Tyler, Chief Catalyst, The Equity Project, Denver, CO

Nita Mosby Tyler is the Chief Catalyst at The Equity Project, and the Chief Human Resources and Inclusion Officer at Children’s Hospital Colorado. She is the first African American woman to have served as Executive Director of the Office of Human Resources for the City and County of Denver in its 61-year history. She is the founder of The Kaleidoscope Project, a community-based organization designed to increase social and health equity within communities of color. She specializes in the development and delivery of leadership, operations effectiveness and HR strategies, as well as diversity, cultural responsiveness and inclusiveness training programs and strategies. Nita holds a doctorate in the field of Organizational Leadership, a Master of Arts degree in Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Education.

Esther Robinson, Founder/ Co-Executive Director, ArtHome, New York City

Esther has worked on behalf of America’s artists for more than 20 years in many capacities, including foundation program officer, television and film producer/director, technology entrepreneur and arts activist. From 1999-2006, Esther was the Director of Film/Video and Performing Arts for the Creative Capital Foundation, and was one of the principal architects of their innovative grant-making system. Recognizing the crucial role that financial solvency and home ownership played in the lives of successful artists, Esther became convinced that asset building and financial literacy should be vital components of a new support system for the arts. This led to the founding of ArtHome, a non-profit that helps artists and their communities build assets and equity through financial literacy, credit access, home ownership and micro-enterprise support. Robinson is also an award-winning filmmaker/producer.

Suzi Q Smith, Executive Director, Poetry Slam Inc., Denver, CO

Award-winning Poet and Author, Suzi Q. Smith lives with her brilliant daughter in Denver, Colorado. In addition to working as a teaching artist in Denver, Suzi Q. has toured the United States for over a decade. Among the most well-known performing poets in the country, she has shared stages with Nikki Giovanni, Talib Kweli, the late Gil Scott Heron, and many more over the years. Her work has appeared in Union Station Magazine, Suspect Press, Muzzle Magazine, Malpais Review, Peralta Press, and more. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Poetry Slam, Inc. and as a Partner Artist with Youth On Record, and an Advisor to Denver Minor Disturbance Youth Poetry Slam.

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