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Diversity, making culture “fun” among challenges of Denver arts scene revealed by new survey — The Know from The Denver Post

More then 6,000 students take part in 28th Annual Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival in 2012 at Denver Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Denver. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)

Latinos and African-Americans in Denver are less likely to attend arts and cultural events, are feeling less represented in the cultural scene, and are more likely to face obstacles such as concerns about parking, a lack of information and feelings of exclusion at cultural events than whites.

Those are among the most significant findings of a phone survey conducted by Corona Insights on behalf of the city of Denver for its Imagine 2020 cultural plan, which launched in 2014 and reached its halfway mark this year.

The report, which city officials and pollsters shared at a meeting at the McNichols Building in Civic Center park on Tuesday, also compared results of a 2013 survey with the latest findings. The new survey included 800 respondents chosen to represent current population demographics for the city.

“I am unsurprised by the results, but we already know that we have some work to do — which is why I wanted to become a commissioner, and what Imagine 2020 is for,” Suzi Q. Smith, a poet and recently installed member of the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs, said after the event. “There are some areas, particularly around diversity and inclusion, that I’m really interested in having the city engaged with. We’re a much more diverse city than I think all of our institutions show.”

While some findings in the survey were positive — including reports of increased attendance at concerts, galleries, museums and festivals, as well as increases in “personal art creation” — the report saw declines in respondents who attended a theater, dance, opera or symphony performance compared with 2013’s results.

The percentage of respondents who rated the amount of Denver’s culturally diverse programming as “good or excellent” also declined,…

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