Posts

Leadership Arts program

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

#GivingTuesdayNOW

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

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…

Creative Time Farewell

Although we’re saying a fond farewell to our Thursday Creative Time, we have a plan to keep the art happenin’! Wanna know what it is?

The Colorado Sun

Colorado Sun Article

Thank you to poet, activist and Art from Ashes board member Theo E.J. Wilson for this wonderful piece in The Colorado Sun!

The Colorado Sun

Poetry program helps inner city kids navigate their way past depression and suicidal thoughts

 

World Denver Youth Workshops

Each year World Denver partners with Art from Ashes to present our program to dignitaries around the world, including the Philippines, Great Britain, Malaysia and other nations. We also are privileged to provide workshops for the Iraqi Youth Delegation.

The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) for high school students and adult mentors is a program sponsored and funded by the U.S. Embassy, Baghdad and U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Youth Programs Division. Through IYLEP, participants can develop skills in leadership and civic engagement through workshops as well as build mutual understanding between the people of Iraq and the U.S. through homestays.

My Voice Is
By Tava

My voice is stuck
Between the real self
And the person I want to be
Who is the person I want to be?
It’s the person people want to see

A person that keeps quiet
A person that society wants
A person who ‘behaves’

Could the self be defined
Without society’s standards?
Is there such a thing
As the self?
With the personalities
And looks
That society has taught us?

If I grew in the mountains, the trees,
Next to the water
Would I have been louder?

It’s Like Making the Boat Rock

Interview with 19-year-old youth poet Zaya Heffenger: “It’s definitely one of the deeper connections I’ve ever had”…

Getting through the Bullshit: An Interview with Allison Parks

by Anna Ingraham

When I was asked to interview Allison Parks, an Art from Ashes donor, I didn’t realize that I had already met Allison. I volunteered at the Art from Ashes annual Celebration of Light in December, where I had the honor of witnessing not only the incredible performances by youth, but also a large, surprise donation from a lovely woman and her real estate company. I was standing in the back as Allison gave Catherine her generous gift, but even from my corner, I felt that the magic wasn’t only coming from the warm lighting.

Of course, Catherine brought Allison to the microphone to say a few words, and I remember the passion in her voice for supporting the work that Art from Ashes does to empower youth. I also remember the joy and love on Catherine’s face as she listened, and the general feeling of goodwill that permeated the room. It was indeed a Celebration of Light.

Allison Parks owns a real estate brokerage called Conscious Real Estate. They run on a donation model, which means that when anyone buys or sells a home, her company donates ten percent of the commission to a nonprofit of their client’s choice. Sometimes the clients don’t know which nonprofit to choose, so they leave it up to Allison. While talking with Allison on the phone, I was lucky enough to learn more about why someone who could donate to any of the various nonprofits in Denver feels so strongly about supporting Art from Ashes.

Featured donor, Allison Parks, with AfA Executive Director Catherine O’Neill Thorn

Allison met Catherine three or four years ago when she was taking time to go around Denver meeting nonprofit directors to tell them about her company. She had an evening appointment with Catherine, and she laughingly told me that she wasn’t looking forward to another meeting after a long day of work. She didn’t know what she was walking into, for as soon as she arrived at the Art from Ashes space, Catherine invited her to join a poetry workshop full of teenagers already in session. She remembers thinking, who are these kids? But as she began to participate, Allison was blown away by what the teens wrote and were willing to share. Being in the workshop had a huge impact on Allison, causing her to immediately fall in love with Art from Ashes and with Catherine. Since then, she’s enjoyed making surprise donations whenever she’s able, including this past December.

Allison joined the board for Art from Ashes, but soon decided she could have a bigger impact on the organization by donating through her real estate business. When I asked why she continues to donate and support AfA, Allison said, “Catherine got me. There are so many good nonprofits, but she just got me somehow.”

She spoke about how many organizations she’s visited to discuss donating, and how she appreciates “the authenticity of not having to sit around and read somebody’s stupid report that’s written on card-stock.” She continued by saying, “I don’t care what’s on the paper. Give me a story of what happened in someone’s life. It’s partly Catherine and partly just the kids. It hit me again during the Christmas party. I’m so damn proud of those young people. What they do is just mind-blowing, and Art from Ashes gives them the vehicle to do that. I have friends who participated in AfA when they were teens, and it was huge in their lives. It was a turning point for them.”

About her own experiences as a teenager, Allison told me that she grew up in rural Illinois, where there were not many resources or programs available for exploring writing. She wrote a little, but didn’t have the venue to explore her voice like the AfA participants. She talked about her experience in one of the six-week adult writing workshops AfA offers. She easily remembered one of the first exercises they were asked to do in the program, where they were instructed to write a three-minute poem from the prompt “Love is.” When the participants read their poems out loud, they were told to change it to “I am.” Allison said, “So many people start crying when they read those words and acknowledged that they are those beautiful things. To be able to stop and witness that for a minute brings on tears for everybody. It’s a good message of reconnecting with our core essence and remembering who we are.” She added to this idea of cutting through the surface to get to our inner core, calling it, “getting through the bullshit.”

It seemed that the biggest take-away Allison got from the adult workshop was the importance of self-love, a message that also comes through in the workshops that AfA offers to struggling youth. Allison said, “Our culture does not teach self-love. So much of consumerism is based on getting us not to love ourselves as we are. It’s important to start taking those steps toward loving yourself and realizing who you really are, that you are enough, and that you belong here. Sharing the poetry and the work you do is about embodying that voice, solidifying that self-love. Having other people be your mirror helps the roots grow.” Her final comment about the adult workshop was that “it makes you absolutely realize that this model and curriculum is pretty potent.”

When I asked Allison how she sees herself continuing to work with Art from Ashes, she said that she sometimes fantasizes about facilitating youth workshops. For now though, she’s making time to care for herself and is thinking about taking up singing and dancing. She said, “I have a feeling that once I dive in, I might find something there. Sometimes when we indulge in that creativity, it helps uncover something,” a statement with which, I feel, all of us at Art from Ashes would agree.

Allison’s sense of humor and depth of thought came across loud and clear. She will continue to donate to AfA and I could tell even from our brief conversation how much she cares about giving youth the space and resources to express themselves and connect with their creative genius. Art from Ashes is honored to have the support of such a creative, honest, and generous woman. It’s individuals like Allison and moments like the holiday party that keep our spirits strong and fuel us to continue bringing empowering workshops to the youth we serve.

Catherine O’Neill Thorn Honored As A Westword Colorado Creative

100 Colorado Creatives are chosen by journalist and artist Susan Froyd for the Westword honor and published on their site (below). You can read the Executive Director of AfA’s thoughtful and often irreverant ideas on the state of the arts in Colorado and her personal motivations and inspiration for her work. Susan’s Facebook post is also linked below.

Click here for the story in Westword

Click here for the Facebook post

2018 Westword Article

Catherine O'Neill Thorn is a Colorado Creatives in all the best ways, as an eloquent writer, speaker and poet, as well…

Posted by Susan Froyd on Monday, December 3, 2018

Events

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).

REGISTER TO RUN HERE!: bit.ly/ROTG2019

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.

SPONSORS WILL BE ABLE TO SUPPORT SPECIFIC RUNNERS BY DONATING THROUGH FACEBOOK, PAYPAL, GIVINGFIRST, OR WITH A CHECK.
Donate through ColoradoGives: www.coloradogives.org/ROTG2019
Donate through Paypal GIving Fund (100% goes to AfA!): bit.ly/PayPal-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.

BUSINESS PARTNERS CAN SUPPORT THE MARATHON BY CONTACTING US USING THE FORM BELOW OR BY CALLING 303.837.1550!
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

Steubens

“Porchlight

“Timbuk2"

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:

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.

Creative Time

FREE PIZZA! FREE ART! RESPECT FOR YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS!

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.

YOU ALREADY ARE AN ARTIST! WE BELIEVE IN YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS!

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!

Creative Time

FREE PIZZA! FREE ART! RESPECT FOR YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS!

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.

YOU ALREADY ARE AN ARTIST! WE BELIEVE IN YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS!

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!

Creative Time

FREE PIZZA! FREE ART! RESPECT FOR YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS!

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.

YOU ALREADY ARE AN ARTIST! WE BELIEVE IN YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS!

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!

Creative Time

FREE PIZZA! FREE ART! RESPECT FOR YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS!

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.

YOU ALREADY ARE AN ARTIST! WE BELIEVE IN YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS!

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!

Creative Time

FREE PIZZA! FREE ART! RESPECT FOR YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS!

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.

YOU ALREADY ARE AN ARTIST! WE BELIEVE IN YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS!

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!

Creative Time

FREE PIZZA! FREE ART! RESPECT FOR YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS!

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.

YOU ALREADY ARE AN ARTIST! WE BELIEVE IN YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS!

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!

Creative Time

FREE PIZZA! FREE ART! RESPECT FOR YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS!

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.

YOU ALREADY ARE AN ARTIST! WE BELIEVE IN YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS!

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!