Colorado Creative Industries Summit

The Creative Industries Summit is the annual event for Colorado creatives to connect, learn, and be inspired. More than 300 creative stakeholders from over 60 Colorado cities and towns attend the summit.

The two-day event offers exhibits, performances, networking opportunities, speakers, classes, and workshops.

The event is ideal for both early- and late-career creative leaders including artists, board members, community leaders, creative entrepreneurs, creative industries advocates from all sectors, elected officials, emerging creatives, executive directors, municipal and nonprofit cultural workers, and program staff.

The next summit will be held on September 30 to October 1, 2021 in Steamboat Springs. Sign up for the Colorado Creative Industries newsletter to stay updated on this event.

Register for the Creative Industries Summit 


Type: Summit

For: Creatives and artists

Date: September 30 to October 1, 2021

Location: Steamboat Springs Creative District

OEDIT division: Colorado Creative Industries

This is a preliminary agenda and is still being finalized and may change. 

Thursday, September 30 Location Description
8:30 to 9:45 am  Registration and visit exhibits open Depot Art Center
10:00 to 11:15 am Sessions and tours Steamboat Springs Creative District
11:30 to 12:00 pm Free parking, shuttle transportation, and boxed lunches provided Yampa River Botanic Park
12:00 to 2:00 pm Governors creative leadership awards Yampa River Botanic Park
3:15 to 4:45 pm Sessions and tours Steamboat Springs Creative District
4:45 - 5:45 pm Welcome party and networking Depot Art Center
6:00 to 8:00 pm  Special art walk and local entertainment Steamboat Springs Creative District 
9:00 pm Late night disco party Oehme Graphics 


Friday, October 1 Location  Description
7:30 to 8:30 am  Breakfast Depot Art Center
8:30 to 10:00 am Sessions and tours TBD
10:20 to 11:40 am  Sessions and tours TBD
12:00 to 2:00 pm Facilitated small group lunch sessions *This requires a separate registration TBD
2:20 to 3:40 pm Sessions and tours TBD

A picture of Bobby LeFebre Colorado's poet laureate

Bobby LeFebre

Bobby LeFebre is an award winning writer, performer and cultural worker fusing a non-traditional multi-hyphenated professional identity to imagine new realities, empower communities, advance arts and culture, and serve as an agent of provocation, transformation, equity and social change.  LeFebre’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Guardian, American Theater Magazine, NPR, and Poets.Org.  In 2019, LeFebre was named Colorado’s 8th Poet Laureate, making him the youngest and first person of color to be appointed to the position in its 100 year history.  LeFebre holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Metropolitan University of Denver and a master’s degree in Art, Literature and Culture from the University of Denver. 

These sessions are still being finalized and are subject to change.

Art as Healer and Connector

In this interactive session, Dan will work with attendees as a group to demonstrate the musical and singing techniques he uses in his inspiring and revolutionary work with Parkinson’s patients, Alzheimer’s patients, and autism patients. In these patient groups, normal communication pathways and the region controlling physical coordination in our brains are dysfunctional. Dan’s work circumvents these impaired  regions by connecting directly with our limbic system, a part of the brain not impaired in these disorders. Therefore music, singing, and rhythmic mimicry become  excellent tools to boot up the power to communicate and to control physical movements again. 

In addition to helping these patient populations regain lost skills, Dan’s work has become a bridge between the health and behavioral non-profits in our community and our local opera company.  These collaborations have been beneficial to all organizations, increasing the available avenues for treating patient populations, providing new skills to staff therapists, and providing new qualifying activities that can lead to additional supportive funding.

Presenter: Dr. Dan Comstock, Co-Founder & Director, Center for Attitudinal Healing 

Leaning into Inclusion: Using art and cultural engagement to make and impact 

This session will be a case study. Learning by example and sharing our story, we will dive deep into the journey and development of an historical exhibit which examines a snapshot of racism and a fight for civil rights within small town Colorado of 1935.The exhibit Racism and Discrimination at the Lafayette Swimming Pool, 1935, was on display during the summer of 2020 at The Collective Community Arts Center. The session will look at how civic agencies can move from looking at issues of diversity to incorporating inclusion by way of developing trust, giving voice to underserved populations, and facing demons from the past. We will share what we have done to grow, pitfalls that we faced, and results of the exhibit. 

Presenters: Rachel Hanson, City of Lafayette Arts & Culture Program Manager and Madi Vargas, City of  Lafayette Latinx Outreach Coordinator 

Relevance in the Arts - Art and Activism 

Since 2017, Boulder County Arts Leadership Forum (BCALF) has presented panels on Relevance in the Arts featuring arts professionals from across the front range. As a follow-up to those panels and in partnership with Street Wise Boulder, we are embarking on an exploration of the intersection of art and activism with local artists and activists. Each panelist will present their work, followed by a moderated discussion and time for audience questions. The panelists will address resilience, recovery, wellness and healing. 

Moderator: Leah Brenner Clack  

NEA Research Projects:  US Art and Design Market

Art markets, i.e. the commercial exchange of ownership in art and design goods, have been historically difficult to measure. This ground-breaking report by the M.A. in Gallery and Museum Management at Western Colorado University has been funded from an National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Research: Art Works grant and makes use of US government labor and tax statistics to measure the occupations and industries of the art market. All 50 states, and this session will be the first public presentation of the findings. 

Presenter: Jeffrey Taylor, Western Colorado University 

Making the Leap from Gallery Artist to Public Artist, What you Need to Know 

This presentation will cover the steps in applying for a public art project, including preparing a statement and choosing images of past work. We will also discuss how to create a winning proposal once you have been selected as a finalist for a public art project, including the dos and don'ts of presenting in front of a  public art selection panel. Lastly, we will touch on the project management side of the process, once you have been selected for a commission. Artists who have never received a public art commission, but are interested in the process, are encouraged to attend. 

Presenters: Brendan Picker, Jeanne Quinn, Artist and Chair of CU Boulder Art History Department 

Making in Colorado: A Data Perspective from Makerspaces

The Making in Colorado is an evergreen, changing landscape as both spaces and makers evolve to their changing environments and their passions. Is data available to identify where we are as a maker community and a supporting ecosystem? 

Presenter: Jeanette Breton, Board Member of Colorado Maker Hub, State Ambassador for Nation of  Makers 

Creating New Flows: Art + Science + Action in Colorado 

Learn about art + science integration frameworks that grow inclusive, sustained community engagement and action on critical environmental and social issues. Artists and scientists from CU Boulder and Colorado communities will engage participants with methods for developing exhibitions and events, including visual arts and Virtual Reality, theatre, creative computing and more. We will focus on natural resources, from water to space, as connective elements among all Coloradans and ways we can address local and regional social and scientific issues through the arts. Interactive examples drawn from the projects of our inaugural Art + Science + Action community artists and CU Boulder scientist cohorts will support participants in brainstorming and forging new connections. This workshop is organized by the CU Boulder Office for Outreach and Engagement

Presenters: Emmanuelle Vital, Pure Inspirations, Celeste Moreno, University of Colorado Boulder  Laboratory of Playful Computation, Patrick Chandler, Environmental Studies, University of Colorado  Boulder and Lisa Schwartz, Office for Outreach and Engagement University of Colorado Boulder Session organized by the CU Boulder Office for Outreach and Engagement 

Social Media 201 - Digital Marketing 

You've got regular posting down, and sometimes you even get comments. You're ready to dip your toe into ad spends but don't know where to start. And how do you know what's a good Facebook Ad anyway? This class will break down Facebook and Instagram advertising, teach you how to target,  spend, test, and most importantly - build a winning ad from the bottom up. 

Presenter: Jennifer Lee Robinson 

Arts and the Rural West - Regional trends and Colorado leadership 

Rural arts is an area of renewed focus for arts funders and policymakers across the country. WESTAF is facilitating new networks to better connect rural advocates in the West with this advancing national agenda. Colorado has become a leader nationally in developing new initiatives that integrate the arts into rural economic and community development strategies. This session will present trends and case studies in rural arts from across the region and explore the ways in which art is supporting economic opportunity and community wellbeing in Colorado's rural communities.

Presenters: TBD
Moderator: David Holland, Director of Impact and Public Policy at WESTAF  

Music and Youth Resilience

Meaningful opportunities for musical expression and connection are vital to the emotional and social health of young people, particularly those from traditionally marginalized communities. During the pandemic, classroom teachers, working musicians, and community service providers developed new music programs and strategies, including online instruction, to meet students’ needs. In this session, participants will learn about this work and hear about the successes, challenges, and next steps in ensuring all students in Colorado have access to inclusive and culturally responsive music instruction. Session attendees can also expect to learn more about Take Note Colorado and its responsive grant program. And, of course, there will be music!

Presenters: TBD
Moderator: Bryce Merrill, Board Member, Take Note Colorado  

Chamber Champions: Best Practices for SmART Partnerships

As the arts and creative sector focuses on recovery and building back stronger in Colorado, it's more essential than ever to develop and strengthen stakeholder relationships and elevate and align strategic partnership opportunities. Where do arts and business intersect and share common goals in your community's economic recovery? Learn how to leverage local Chambers of Commerce as vital partners and advocates for the arts. Hear from Chambers and arts leaders from rural and urban communities in the state about high-impact partnerships with win-win outcomes. 

Presenters: Mitzi Schindler, Aurora Chamber of Commerce; Deborah Malden, Boulder Chamber of Commerce; Betse Grasby, Steamboat Art Museum and serves on Steamboat Chamber of Commerce; Andrea Stewart, Carbondale Chamber of Commerce
Moderator: David Holland, Director of Impact and Public Policy at WESTAF

Future Gazing: Radical Imagination, Accountability and the Future

Join us as we play a conversation game centering radical imagination and consider, dream and posit better futures.  

Presenter: Bobby LeFebre, CO Poet Laureate

The Magic of Co-Creation Playshop

Co-creation is creating, developing, or incubating a project or idea with one or more people in an organic and present-moment state of mind. It includes rather than excludes. It views information and ideas as fluid and connecting rather than kept in a silo. It fosters a spirit of engagement and possibility instead of limited thinking and old ideas. Let’s co-create this workshop together to create something that would be really interactive, playful, and most importantly, helpful. Let’s co-create a session together that we could never create on our own. We will use the power of the collective to access ideas, inspiration, motivation, clarity, support, and more fun while creating something together during this hour. See the power of co-creation to bring it back into your organizations with fresh ideas.  

Presenter: Sarah Kostin, Author and Coach 

Collective Care: Holding Fatigue, Grief, and Joy Through the Arts

Join nurse, dancer, and creative caregiver Tara Rynders as she guides you through an interactive, multimedia experience of the art and science of caring for others and yourself. As a truth-teller and disrupter, Rynders embraces vulnerability, confession, grief and failure as means to end burnout and its detrimental effects which acutely impacts our patients of color. Drawing from her experience creating theatrical performances in hospital settings and intimate arts and play-based workshops for nurses, Rynders harnesses her passion for nursing and the arts to collectively honor our shared humanity by creating a culture of caregiving nested in self-compassion, curiosity, creativity, and joy. This presentation is an immersive invitation to care for oneself through truth-telling, self-compassion, creative expression, and ultimately, the freedom to celebrate pleasure.

Presenter: Tara Rynders, Registered Nurse, Artistic Director and Founder of The Clinic

Can I Post This?: Putting Creative Content Online

There has been a surge of virtual creative content and arts experiences being offered online. Many artists, cultural organizations and venues are finding new ways to reach audiences and participants through digital platforms. However… do you know if you have the rights to share that creative content on that distribution platform? Do you have the rights to play that song during your online dance class? Is it OK to re-post a recording of your past live theatre performance? What are the rules to know before livestreaming that concert? This interactive conversation is designed to answer questions and provide general guidance on putting creative content (recorded or live) on digital platforms, as well as provide some basics of copyright. 

Presenters: Dave Ratner, Creative Law Network; Meredith Badler, Colorado Business Committee for the Arts 

Creative Aging: Complex not Complicated

Creative Aging is a national movement to advance understanding of the vital relationship between creative expression and healthy aging, and a term used to encompass the many types of quality arts programs which support and enrich the lives of adults across the aging spectrum. This session will focus on the role of the arts in conscious aging and will provide both a theoretical and hands-on approach to implementing and sustaining high-quality arts programming in a variety of settings serving older adults.

Presenters: Jason Diminich, Director of Education and Community Engagement, Think 360 Arts for Learning;  Damon McLeese, Executive Director, Access Gallery 

Arts Philanthropy and the Future of Colorado Creative Communities

COVID-19 rocked creative communities across Colorado, so what comes next? This session brings artists, administrators, advocates, and funders together for facilitated conversations about the recovery of the creative sector. What role can art play as communities emerge from the pandemic? How did COVID-19 change the need for philanthropy within the creative sector? And most importantly, how must arts philanthropy evolve to meet changing needs and opportunities across the state? This session is designed as a two-way conversation between art creators and art funders to generate specific ideas for the evolution of arts philanthropy across Colorado.

Presenters: TBD
Moderator: David Siegel, CEO, Bee Vradenburg Foundation 

Youth led Creative Placemaking Memory Projects in Colorado

History Colorado's Youth Memory Projects are youth-centered writing and storytelling programs geared towards elevating young voices within their communities and neighborhoods. These projects use community narrative, writing, storytelling, and art to create oral history projects through which the young of a community reanimate their local history. Youth serve as community historians, developing project objectives, designing oral history protocol, interviewing their community members, and creating a final project to share with the community. Join three History Colorado staff leading these efforts with case studies that highlight one Denver urban community and another San Luis Valley youth project. Learn best practices and tips for establishing your own youth memory project!

Presenters: Marissa Adela Volpe, Chief of Equity and Engagement at History CO; Eric Carpio, Chief of Community Museums at History CO and Director of Ft. Garland Museum and Cultural Center; María Islas- López, Museum of Memory Manager

Steamboat Heritage Tour 

Iconic Steamboat Springs tour presented by the Tread of Pioneers Museum and Steamboat Creates, this easy stroll through local history highlights the history of arts and culture in the Yampa Valley through the people who shaped the culture we enjoy today. Starts at the Tread of Pioneers Museum, 800 Oak St. 

Perry Mansfield Tour 

Over a hundred years ago, two ladies came to the frontier mountain town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. They arrived as debutantes but quickly became pioneers and visionaries letting nature inspire art. Although the town was populated with people primarily engaged in mining and ranching, it was Charlotte Perry and Portia Mansfield’s dream to exploring art, dance and theater in the great out of doors.  Quickly regarded by the locals as the “mad ladies of Steamboat,” Charlotte and Portia founded Perry Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp in this spectacular mountain setting a 76-acre campus 7,000 feet above sea level and 150 miles northwest of Denver.  

Today Perry Mansfield is the oldest continuously operating performing arts school and camp in the country and attracts 250 students (ages 7 through adult professional students) from across the country, showcasing over twenty performances each summer. With the nation’s best faculty, staff and students, Perry Mansfield is the place where innovation and imagination are expressed in theatre, musical theatre, and dance.  

West Side Creatives – Studio Tours and Demos

The West Side Creatives Tour is a free self-guided tour of local artist studios, creative businesses, and breweries that aims to display and demystify the creative process to our Steamboat Springs community and visitors. Through demos and educational displays in businesses and artist studios, visitors will meet the creators personally, see and purchase original artwork, and learn about how and where our community creates ceramics, fine art prints, framing, glass and stone, silk screen prints, hand crafted knives, sustainable carved wood goods, graphic design,  signage, beer, graphite art, photography, painting, and sculpture.

There will be about 10 to 12 different studios participating in the tour, with a very wide range of crafts, art, craft beer, and demonstrations. Shuttles will loop through the 1.5 miles area in a large closed loop, off the main road just north of downtown. 


Steamboat Springs is a popular spring destination, so be sure to book your accommodations as soon as possible! Downtown hotels are a short walk from conference locations. Additional lodging options are accessible to downtown via the free Steamboat Springs bus.

We have arranged a limited number of blocked rooms at:

  • The Iconic Rabbit Ears Motel, located downtown Steamboat Springs, Colorado, is your choice for comfortable, affordable, friendly lodging right in the center of downtown. Call 970.879.1150 or 800.828.7702 to book and mention the Creative Industries Summit group rate. A single queen is $89 per night plus tax and the double queen is $129 per night plus tax. Rabbit Ears is walking distance to conference locations.
  • Nordic Lodge: The Nordic Lodge includes an indoor hot tub as well as a great extended continental breakfast. There are refrigerators and microwaves and free Wi-Fi in all of the rooms. Call 1-800-364-0331 or 970-879-0531 to book and mention the Creative Industries Summit group rate. A single queen is $109 per night plus tax and the double queen is $139 per night plus tax. Nordic Lodge is the closest lodging option to conference locations. 

Additional downtown lodging options are:

Hotels accessible to downtown via the FREE Steamboat Springs bus:

The summit is an annual opportunity for experienced creatives and emerging leaders to sit side-by-side, learn from each other, and improve Colorado’s statewide creative community.

Platinum Sponsor – $5,000

As a platinum sponsor, you will receive:

  • 5 conference registrations
  • 1 vendor table
  • the opportunity to contribute marketing materials to welcome bags and vendor tables
  • name and linked logo recognition as a Platinum sponsor in the event program, website, on-site signage
  • reserved seating at the head table during large group events/meals and Governor’s Awards

Gold Sponsor – $2,500

As a gold sponsor, you will receive:

  • 3 conference registrations
  • 1 vendor table
  • the opportunity to contribute marketing materials to welcome bags and vendor tables
  • name and linked logo recognition as a Gold sponsor in the event program, website, onsite signage, and individually with a selected sponsorship option
  • reserved seating at the head table during large group events/meals and Governor’s Awards

Silver Sponsor – $1,500

As a silver sponsor, you will receive:

  • 2 conference registrations
  • the opportunity to contribute marketing materials to welcome bags and vendor tables
  • name and linked logo recognition as a Silver sponsor in the event program, website, onsite signage, and individually with a selected sponsorship option

Bronze Sponsor – $750

As a bronze sponsor, you will receive:

  • 1 conference registration
  • the opportunity to contribute marketing materials to welcome bags and vendor tables
  • name and linked logo recognition as a lunch sponsor in the event program, website, and on-site signage
  • the option to work with CCI to develop and facilitate lunch breakout session content or the option to have CCI develop and facilitate the content on behalf of the sponsor 


Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

Community Partners

Program Manager

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