beautiful photos of purple clouds in the sky

My Poems-Sammi Little

My Poems
by Sammi Little, 16

Giving Tuesday logo

Giving Tuesday 2020

Mark your calendars to pack a local punch on Giving Tuesday, December 1st. Join donors from…

Leadership Arts program

AfA’s Director of Programs Sarah Lanzarotta is honored to have been chosen to participate…

First Friday Instagram

You can still hear our powerful youth poets perform their powerful youth poems every First Friday via Instagram Live @afaphoenix

Sarah delivering packages

Writing Kits

More than 80 Phoenix Rising creative writing kits have been delivered to schools and other agencies thanks to a generous grant from TGYS!

Maria's hand writing

Share Your Poem

Hello, Creative Genius! Have a poem you’ve written from one of our prompts? You can share it with us right here!


May 5, 2020 is a new international day for supporting nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 crisis— #GivingTuesdayNOW

Writing Prompt-Guest House

Set a timer for three minutes and write without thinking or editing until the time is up! Here’s a prompt to help you get started…

Fury by Hayle

Read a wonderful poem written in only three minutes by Hayle, a 16-year-old creative genius at Endeavor Academy in Arapahoe County…


Pastries and Poetry

Pastries and Poetry Part Deux

Pastries and Poetry

In a different kind of workshop, our second Pastries and Poetry virtual event will be held Tuesday, November 24th from 7 to 8:30pm. (For those who donated to a previous invitation, you don’t need to reserve another spot.) We’ll once again feature Brian Smith, Pastry Chef with FNG, and our very own, Laura Peña. Brian has more than 15 years experience in the pastry and restaurant biz and is donating his time to provide an entertaining spin on how to bake a PECAN PIE right in your own home. There will be youth performances during baking time, and you’ll get to learn a little more about what Art from Ashes does.

A $35 donation gets you a spot to join in the fun. A Zoom link will be sent to you in your confirmation email after signing up. A list of ingredients you will need on hand is under Details.

Please let us know when you RSVP if you have dietary restrictions and/or preferences so that we can work with you to accommodate them.

Thank you for supporting the work that Art from Ashes is doing for their community. We’ll see you in your kitchen soon! Register here!

Brian Smith Pastry Chef

Pastries and Poetry

With all that extra time at home, perhaps you’ve binge watched several seasons of The Great British Baking Show and are ready to try your hand at making a trifle that would earn you a Hollywood Handshake. We’ve got the perfect event, just for you (complete with youth poetry performances, too)!

Mark your calendars! Tuesday, September 22nd at 5 pm, Art from Ashes is hosting Pastries and Poetry, a delicious virtual event that you DO NOT want to miss!

Learn to bake a delicious dessert with Brian Smith, Pastry Chef for the TAG Restaurant Group, from the comfort of your own kitchen. While your creations are baking away, our youth will bless your lil’ chef ears with poetry and spoken word PLUS you’ll even get to hear from several local guest poets!

Plus PLUS you’ll be supporting our mission to empower struggling youth with creative expression all in one fun, sugar-filled evening!

What a Tuesday!

Donations start at only $35 (we’ll even provide ingredients for just a little more) —hurry and get ’em because they’re selling like HOT CAKES! ha.

Click here link to purchase your tickets ASAP!

First Friday Youth Workshop


All youth ages 12 to 24 are invited to join us at Art from Ashes every First Friday of the month at 4.30 pm for a FREE one-hour Phoenix Rising poetry and spoken word workshop, followed at 5.30 by a FREE 45-minute performance workshop, featuring a performance poet. All youth are welcome; free pizza provided.

You don’t need to already write poetry/spoken word, because you ARE poetry!


Workshops are at our location just off the 10th and Osage light rail station. Just DROP IN!

The first 10 youth willing to perform their workshop poems will receive $10!

Contact Sarah Lanzarotta at Art from Ashes, for more information.

First Friday Youth Workshop

Free spoken word and poetry workshop for youth!
Free performance by a featured poet!
Plus, get paid to perform your own poems written in only three minutes!

First Friday

All youth ages 12 to 24 are invited to join us on Zoom every First Friday of the month at 5 pm for a FREE one-hour Phoenix Rising poetry and spoken word workshop and mini performance workshop, featuring a performance poet. All youth are welcome; you don’t need to already write poetry.


For those who want to stay and perform, Instagram live performances begin 6pm. The first 10 youth volunteering to perform their workshop poems will receive $10 each.

Contact email hidden; JavaScript is required at Art from Ashes, for more information.

Running of the Gays 2019

Running of the Gays: Hoofin’ it in Heels for LGBTQ+ Youth

Come out and join Denver’s LGBTQIA community and Allies as we run toward a better future for youth at the 10TH ANNUAL Running of the Gays!

Get yer heels (and ankles!) ready to roll… or strut, or hop, or stumble in a 3-block “marathon” in heels to fund creative empowerment programs for queer youth in the Denver community. The event is organized by Art from Ashes, Denver’s LGBTQIA* community and Allies. Each year runners are asked to raise money through sponsorships to trot 3 blocks down 17th Avenue in heels, starting at Ace Eat Serve patio next to Steuben’s Food Service followed by an all ages (until 1.30 pm) after party at X Bar!

Proceeds contribute to continuing transformational creative programs for local youth who identify as LGBTQ+. While the event is silly, the statistics for our LGBTQ+ young people are decidedly unfunny: gay and lesbian youth are two to three times more likely to commit suicide than other youths, and 30% of all completed youth suicides are related to the issue of sexual identity; 45% of gay males and 20% of lesbians surveyed reported having experienced verbal harassment and/or physical violence during high school as a result of their sexual orientation; 26% of gays and lesbian youth are forced to leave home because of conflicts with their families over sexual identity. Art from Ashes provides creative programs with proven results that improve self-perception and increase involvement with and connection to the community.

Run a 3-block marathon in heels to help fund creative empowerment workshops for the queer youth in our community! You’ll be able to register with a $35 donation ($40 after Aug 15th).


The fee entitles runners to the ROTG “I brought the gay” t-shirt, a goodie bag, a free Mimosa courtesy of Steuben’s, and a foot massage!
Runners are asked to seek sponsorships from friends and family to raise money for the youth programs.

Donate through ColoradoGives:
Donate through Paypal GIving Fund (100% goes to AfA!):
If you are sponsoring a specific runner, please enter their name in the Special Instructions field or by writing their name on your check. Please send checks to 1310 West 10th Ave, Denver CO 80204.

So many thanks to our wonderful annual business sponsors. Some have been sponsoring Running of the Gays since 2010! If you’re interested in supporting our youth programs, please download our ROTG Sponsor Menu for levels of sponsorship and associated benefits. We love to support community businesses that support creative empowerment programs for queer youth! 

Runners gather at the bullpen at Ace Eat Serve/Steuben’s at 11 am to sign in, stretch and enjoy the street show. After Party, foot massages, drag show and silent auction will be held at X Bar from noon to 1.30 pm!

See on our ROTG Facebook page to see the photos from previous years, as well as find out more information.

Thank you to our business sponsors who make the whole thing possible!

Ace Eat Serve




X Bar

Pizzeria Locale

Fleur Salon

Out Front Magazine :: Payroll Vault :: The Bank of Denver :: Queen City Collective Coffee

Thank you to all those who have “come out” in the past. Re-live the fun here:

2019 Rockies Game

ALL SOLD! Thank you, community ❤️

If you’d like to donate towards food and drinks for the youth we’re taking, please do so via Paypal or ColoradoGives or with cash/check (please indicate the purpose of your donation)!

1310 West 10th Ave • Denver, CO * 80204

Great seats, too! Section 117, rows 21, 22, 23

At the Inkwell Poetry Reading

It’s February and love and poetry are floating like bits of annoying flotsam and jetsam in the atmosphere. But not for this event. At The Inkwell Denver returns February 16th to the Book Bar (and bar bar!) and kicks off 2019 with only the best in poetry and all its raw, honest darkness. Organized and hosted by Hillary Leftwich! At the Inkwell

Featured Readers Include:

Two youth poets from the Phoenix Rising program at Art from Ashes, plus AfA’s founding director and CEO Catherine O’Neill Thorn. Catherine has conducted poetry and spoken word workshops for youth and adults since 1992. She established and ran weekly poetry sessions for three years for Columbine students and the aftermath of the Columbine shooting and in 2000, produced Screams Aren’t Enough, a compilation of Columbine student poetry, which won the Colorado Book Award. She is a published poet, writer and journalist and was the proprietor of O’Neill Publishing. She served as a poetry judge for both the 1994 Colorado Book Award and the 2007 Poetry Out Loud national competition among high school students. She was the editor and publisher Inner 303, an arts and poetry magazine for Denver’s urban youth, from 1997 to 2001, and the inspirational book/journal for youth Why Keep Tryin’? Voices from the Street. 

Ashley Cornelius is a performance poet in Colorado. She graduated with a master’s in International Disaster Psychology from DU. She focuses on providing creative therapy for adolescents through poetry therapy and is currently working as a therapist in Denver and lives in Colorado Springs. Her poems reflect her personal struggles and journey as a young black woman navigating the changing world. She aims to inspire, empower, and tell a story of truth and depth. She has won four Hear Here Poetry Slams in Colorado Springs. She was the Women of the World Poetry Slam Colorado Springs Representative and competed in Dallas at Nationals in March 2018. Ashley is an organizer with Poetry 719 and has planned multiple community events in Colorado Springs included the Poetry 719 festival. Ashley was nominated for two 2018 Pikes Peak Art Council (PPAC) awards and won best recurring poetry event. Ashley is committed to using poetry as a platform to speak up and out for marginalized groups and be a voice for those who have been silenced.


Robert Kloss self-published his two most recent books. He is currently writing about murder.








Jay Halsey’s poems, prose, and photos have been published in several online and print journals and a handful of anthologies. Most recently, his hybrid piece “Predator and Prey” was nominated for Best of the Net by Menacing Hedge, and his short story “Hard and Harder” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Cowboy Jamboree. His photography has been used as cover art for poetry collections and novels, featured in fundraising campaigns for the Rocky Mountain Land Library in Fairplay, Colorado, and was part of a touring exhibit featured at libraries and bookstores throughout France to represent Editions Gallmeister’s American authors. He was born and raised in Dayton, OH and has lived on the Colorado Front Range for the past 12 years.




Ben River is a Denver local non-binary latinx who also lives part time in New Mexico. They do work as a writer/poet/activist/painter working mostly in immigration, story telling, and gender bending.

Celebration of Light

The Art from Ashes annual Celebration of Light brings together the beautiful humans in our community to observe the triumphs and accomplishments of the year. Light is the common bond that unites diverse holiday celebrations at the end of the year. It signifies hope, rebirth, and guidance—all things Art from Ashes values. These values are honored when we come together to applaud the youth we serve and the community it takes to serve them. We ask everyone to shine a light on the Art from Ashes youth with their unwavering support and kindness at this special time of the year!

Give where you live!

Please join us at our annual Celebration of Light party on Colorado Gives Day at our location on 10th and Navajo. We’ll have adult and other beverages, great food, holiday art projects, youth and community poets, and our entertainment will feature the talented poet and musician Kayla Marque!

Creative Time


All youth ages 12 to 24 are invited to join us at Art from Ashes every Thursday from 4 to 6 pm for a FREE Creative Time workshop: create art in a welcoming, safe space where people respect you and your creativity.

All youth are welcome; free pizza provided.


Workshops are at our location just off the 10th and Osage light rail station.

If you’d like to let us know you’re going to stop by, contact Celeste Seiler at Art from Ashes, using the form below or JUST DROP IN.

Thank you so much to Imagine 2020 and the Arts in Society grants, and to all our business sponsors and individual donors who make these workshops possible!