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Youth Interview-Desmond

An interview with 20-year-old Desmond Dukes, AfA workshop participant and guest poet 

by Anna Ingraham

Anna: How did you first get involved with AfA?

Desmond: Well, that’s a funny, mysterious story. My friend and I were riding the H-train to 16th street downtown, when we noticed an RTD guy walking up the isle scanning train passes. We didn’t pay for passes! So we hurried and exited at the next stop, which happened to be 10th and Osage. I walked around for a little and was drawn in by the Art from Ashes poster. Then, I found out about the weekly art workshops, and have been popping up there ever since. I like to think the universe guided me there that day.

Anna: So it sounds like you’ve mostly been to the drop-in workshops. What has been your experience with those? 

Desmond: Well, it’s really nice having a community of people to come spend time with. All of my family is back in Texas, so having a group of people to create with really helps me to not feel lonely. I love all of the different things we create! I have magnets and banners and paintings throughout my house now that all remind me of AfA. I try to go to both (the poetry and art workshops) as often as possible. 

Anna: I’m glad it’s been such a good experience for you! Were you an artist and writer before AfA? 

Desmond: I was an artist and writer before AfA. I was writing stories in English class and looking up words in the thesaurus to find words that better fit the picture I was trying to paint. This translated into my music skills later. Around my freshman year, a friend asked me to freestyle with him, and I found I was actually pretty good! So I went from story writing to eventually poetry and rapping and singing over beats I found on Soundcloud and Youtube. Being in choir and percussion taught me rhythm and helped me to find my distinct sound. 

Anna: How has being a guest poet for AfA been for you?

Desmond: I really like the experience of being impactful to high school kids, because I remember when I was in high school, and I just know how influential a message can be. It’s very rare that people can be influential these days, and I know that I can be a positive impact. I want youth to know that they don’t have to give in to the social norm. It’s okay to love yourself! You can just be yourself, and everything’s going to be okay. You don’t have to fit in just to get more followers. When you don’t have a lot of followers because you’re being yourself, those who are following you are doing so because they genuinely like you and care about your work.

Anna: That is such an important message! Do you think that you’re going to continue being a guest poet?

Desmond: I definitely think that I will as long as I’m in Colorado. I really like the AfA community, and anything that I can do to be a part of it, I’m more than willing. 

Anna: Do you feel like creating art, writing, and music has helped you embrace yourself more fully?

Desmond: I feel like creation is a way for us to see what our minds look like, and to hear what our thoughts sound like. You don’t have to try, everyone just exists in a different way. Creating is a very good way to find yourself as an individual. 

Anna: What do you see yourself doing in the future?

Desmond: Eventually, I want to go to school to become a counselor of some sort. I think that I’m very good at talking to people and observing their problems objectively. I feel like I would be good at helpingkids to see what’s causing their problems. A lot of methods these days, instead of finding the root of the problem, kind of just suppress it. I want them to be aware that everything they experience has a reason behind it. 

Anna: It sounds like you’re really passionate about this work. Do you think that the arts will continue to be a part of your life as you move towards a counseling career?

Desmond: I feel as if when I do help people with counseling, I’ll probably sing to them and help them to bring out their inner voice. I believe that everyone can sing, you just have to find out where your range is. I’ll help people to draw, because it’s not about if it looks cool, it’s about learning about yourself. I think I’ll be that kind of counselor and I really feel like I’ll effect peoples daily lives. 

Anna: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me! We are lucky to have you involved with us at AfA! 

Recently I bought a synthesizer(basically a piano) and a looper pedal, and I’ve been practicing adding layers on eachother. Eventually I want to get to a point where I perform live with it. I hope you enjoy this recording I did on my phone of a song I’m in the works of orchestrating. Never forget to shine your light☀️

🕯 sʜɪɴᴇ ʏᴏᴜʀ ʟɪɢʜᴛ 🕯

Poem written by Desmond in three minutes:

A SPIRIT OF ONE

In this time day and age of a government suppression
many minds are confused, many people conjure questions
and though they tell you the answer’s simple, small, flat, and green
i’m here to share with you it’s not as simple as it seems
shoving products in your face to keep you always wanting more
keep you always wanting money, keep you knocking at their door
no it’s not a fucking want, its a motherfuckin’ NEED
their method of control is individuality and greed
and you think im fuckin’ crazy, don’t think i know just how i sound?
but if you look a little closer, then these words will be profound
there’s no need for feeling empty and no need for feeling down
everything possesses beauty if you take a look around
for the primary function of the universe is love
from the atoms made within us to the galaxies above
all the legs, fins, wings, plants, underneath the sun
all are infinite in unity, all a spirit of one

2018 Holiday Letter

Hopefully you can join us for the holiday party on the 4th (invitation below)!

Meanwhile, here’s what we have to share during this wonderful season of light:

(read the pdf of our 2018-Annual Request Letter or read text below)

Happy Holidays from Kumi!  

My name is Kumi, and I am 18 years old. This holiday season, I’d like to share my story of transformation with you.

Before Art from Ashes, I was just an empty shell named Kumi, and I had a degree in making bad decisions. Now I’m getting a different kind of degree at CCD, thanks in large part to Art from Ashes! 

I was full of creativity, hidden behind a door barred shut by my enemy Bipolar Disorder. I was frustrated, depressed, ecstatic, and powerless. Imagine trying to defeat a monster with only a bottle of pills, the wrong kind of friends, and bad love relationships. Doesn’t make much sense, right? 

But then Art from Ashes came to our Creative Writing class at Endeavor Academy. I was so excited about how easy it was to let out my creativity in the form of poetry. I didn’t really ever do much poetry before, so it was new and interesting…and soon it became my favorite thing to do. 

I finally had something new to fight my monster with and you better believe I felt empowered! I felt strong with my new weapon and confident in my new skills. I learned the power of my voice as I read my poetry to the people willing to listen, and I learned how to conquer my fears. And with Art from Ashes, I learned to help empower others, as well.

Art from Ashes was able to come to Endeavor Academy because of generous donations from community members just like you. I’d like to thank you for your support and ask that you please consider financially supporting Art from Ashes this holiday season so that more youth can experience empowerment and transformation through art and poetry.

—Kumi Avila, Youth Representative to the Art from Ashes Board of Directors

Here’s what your generous donation provides:

  • At Art from Ashes, we believe in paying artists! Your donation of $50 provides an honorarium for a guest poet or artist to inspire and motivate the young people in our workshops.
  • We spend more than $1000 a year providing an honorarium to youth who perform their poetry for the community! Any amount you designate can support that goal!
  • We believe in healthy food and LOTS of water for youth. Your donation of $50 will provide enough food and water for one 2-hour workshop for up to 20 young people! How many workshops would you like to support?
  • A monthly donation of $100 will provide writing and art materials for four of our weekly drop-in workshops, held every Wednesday (Phoenix Rising) and Thursday (Drawing on Air Creative Time).
  • A one-time gift of $2000 will support a year’s worth of weekly workshops for a struggling youth. 
  • A one-time gift of $5000 will provide the cost of an 8-workshop program for 20 youth ($15/hr. per youth), which would include operating costs as well as program expenses.
  • Of course, we would very much appreciate any amount you’re willing to donate!

Does your employer match your donation? Please let us know!

And we hope you’ll come to our Annual Celebration of Light Party on Colorado Gives Day, Dec 4th from 7 to 9 pm at Art from Ashes, 1310 west 10th ave, denver


Happy Season of Light from the board and staff of AfA! 

We hope you enjoyed Kumi’s powerful story of transformation. Stories like Kumi’s, and the stories we’ve heard from countless other young people over the years, remind us why we exist and inspire us to continue this important work. Colorado Gives Day is Tuesday, December 4th—a day that allows our generous donors to contribute towards that beautiful goal. During that 24-hour period your donation counts more than any other time.

Speaking of years…on October 10, Art from Ashes celebrated its 15th anniversary! That’s 15 years of young people discovering their creative genius through our unique and innovative programs. At Art from Ashes, we believe that by discovering their creativity, young people are empowered through art and poetry to find their voice, change their stories, and transform their lives. And as numerous studies and our own surveys have shown, it works.

In 2018, Art from Ashes experienced a few transformations as well:

  • AfA won the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Arts and Culture! This prestigious award is given to organizations that make significant and lasting contributions in the City and County of Denver. What a great way to celebrate our 15th anniversary!
  • AfA merged with Violet Hive’s Art As Healing youth program, a nonprofit organization that shares our belief that art facilitates empowerment and healing. Founder of Violet Hive, Amy Leiter, joined the AfA staff; Bridget Hofstadter of Violet Hive is now our volunteer coordinator; and both are trained Phoenix Rising facilitators who have expanded our weekly Creative Time drop-in workshops!
  • Our programs and the work we do with youth in the community were highlighted on CBS4 and Fox Network, helping to send our message of hope and transformation to thousands of people.
  • AfA hosted and facilitated a workshop for the World Denver Iraqi Youth Delegation.
  • AfA has now partnered with more than 180 organizations to serve nearly 13,000 young people! 

In addition to our ongoing workshops in the community and weekly on-site workshops, young people have shared their stories and their voices at a number of events in 2018. Some of these events include monthly First Friday performances at AfA, the Mercury Café’s 30th Annual Poetry Rodeo, the Youth Voices in Recovery poetry performance, and AfA’s 9th Annual Running of the Gays. Additionally, two of our youth poets were featured at the 2018 Denver Women’s March, where they performed in front of thousands of people! 

Seeing the magic happen in workshops and watching the transformation of both youth and community members during performances and art shows re-ignites our passion for the work we do and leaves us energized for a groundbreaking future:

  • Next year Violet Hive artists and AfA staff will expand the Drawing on Air curriculum, which is built on the foundation of our award-winning Phoenix Rising program.
  • Of our existing trained facilitators, two are professional dancers interested in expanding and facilitating our Wingspan program, which we hope to launch by the end of 2019.

Our programs are magical, but we can’t soar without you. We hope you will help us meet our goal to serve even more youth in 2019. Please consider making a holiday contribution to provide creative empowerment workshops to the young people in our community.

With gratitude and joy,

The Art from Ashes staff, board, facilitators, contractors and volunteers

Catherine O’Neill Thorn, Celeste Seiler, Bridget Hofstadter, Sarah Lanzarotta, Samantha Albala, Savannah Arterburn, Tiffany Bowden, Amy Leiter, Marie Verrett, Carolyn Klier, Lewis Lease, Jessica Jarrard, Susie Martin, Johnnie Thorn, Kumi Avila, plus 63 interns, volunteers, and guest poets/artists!

PS. For those of you who have been supporting, praying for, and thinking of Catherine as she has journeyed through this difficult past year, you can find her medical update on our website here: www.artfromashes.org/category/news

young man reading his poetry

CBS Denver Features Art from Ashes

Art from Ashes youth and executive director were featured on CBS4’s This Morning Show on March 26, 2018

COGivesDay 2017

Colorado Gives Day is December 5th this year, and your donation carries even more weight because of a FirstBank incentive fund. We would love you to consider Art from Ashes youth as the beneficiaries of your generosity.

We’re also having a party at Art from Ashes between 6.30 and 9 pm that evening to celebrate our donors and youth and staff and board and volunteers and… well, everyone who has made AfA possible for the past 14 years!

And if you would rather give early, you can do that, too, by selecting the CO GIVES DAY button when donating.

We could really use the support this year in particular. Please help out with however much you are able! http://bit.ly/afacogivesday

AND as usual, we’re having out annual AfA Holiday Party to celebrate Colorado Gives Day! This year it’s at our new location on 10th and Navajo between the hours of 6.30 and 9 pm.

You will be inspired by brilliant Phoenix Rising youth and local poets; music by Joshua Abeyta; & instant poem gifts typed on the spot by Poet Jen Harris. You can enjoy delicious complimentary appetizers and alcoholic (with ID) and non-alcoholic beverages.

Proceeds from the event will be used to support Art from Ashes creative empowerment programs for youth.

We look forward to seeing you and your friends on Tuesday, Dec 5 from 6.30 to 9 pm @ the Art from Ashes home base, 1310 West 10th Ave, Denver.

If you can’t make it to the party, but wish to make a Colorado Gives Day contribution to Art from Ashes, you can do so by scheduling your donation anytime before midnight on Dec. 5th!
Click here —-> http://bit.ly/donateafa

Why Am I Here-Tylan

The thing I don’t know
Is one thing

Savannah-18

Savannah3-minute poem by Savannah Arterburn

I get that you just want to impress
and not admit that you’re a mess.
I know ‘cause I can see the tears your soul disappears.
Beauty’s pain and beauty’s in everything
but we are just here to learn—
don’t forget to breathe.
If need be lean on me
and don’t forget what makes you, you.
It’s crazy but you don’t have to know exactly who you are
your friends will help with that part.
Feeling unnoticed is how you go
and it hurts ‘cause we all know.
You’re not alone with all your pain
forget the world just whip it all away.
You deserve it ‘cause it’s not about the surface
yes, you’re still perfect and always worth it.
So let me be your mirror so you can see a little clearer.
‘Cause you’re beautiful and you don’t even know.

Chantel – MHYC

PencilPaperPeople take one look at me
And mug me or say something smart
They judge me off of my exterior
Not knowing who I am
And what I’m really about
After getting to know me
I become someone
They will never want to let go

I want to know where I am going to take my children
And how we will get there
I want to know why there are so many
Sick twisted funkin’ nasty ass people
Who hurt others
I want to know why parents bail on their children
I want to know why God hasn’t allowed me to be taken
The many times I could have been
I want to know why I never got to know my father
And why he even left

I am ME!
I am Chantel
I don’t give a fuck about all the he says she say bullshit
Because I am not only a wonderful mother
But I am an awesome parent
I am the future for my children and their children
I am who I want to be
I will not let my past define me
Because I no longer live there
I am here today and will do the best
And give better to my children

Jeremy – Age 16

jeremy-1

HIBAQ

Spotlight: Interview with Hibaq Osman, Youth Extraordinaire

IMG_7622 by Beatriz Tamariz, Volunteer

I sat before a singular young lady. In fact I’d heard so many facilitators speak wonders about Hibaq, her presence made me nervous. We met at a coffee shop near her home in East Denver and quickly covered the basics. Hibaq is a 17 year old who not only exudes confidence but a strong sense of self. She informed me she attends Compassion Road Academy, an alternative school. Hibaq didn’t flinch when she told me she’d been kicked out of her former High School in 2014. Later, I would understand Art from Ashes taught her no flinching is necessary.

Hibaq became involved with Art from Ashes (AfA) in April 2015 after enrolling for the Phoenix Rising workshops at Compassion Road. “The Spoken Word workshop just seemed cool!” she said. Hibaq related she grew quite enamored with the program and the facilitators. Ashley was the lead facilitator for the workshop, and Franklin was there when Ashley wasn’t. Hibaq went on about how she loved everyone at Art from Ashes; Johnny, Morgan, Catherine, and so many other names I couldn’t keep up.  She stated Franklin has turned her on to Yoga. He encourages her to kick off her shoes and do spontaneous yoga stretches at the mention of a rough day. Hibaq stated Angela, another AfA facilitator, is currently coaching her on memorizing her poems. These are the people who helped her see what she was capable of accomplishing—who helped her see her full potential. Hibaq added she also has made a lot of friends her own age through AfA.

Hibaq unwaveringly continued telling me about her story. She said she has been in and out of treatment facilities for the past THREE YEARS. I tiptoed around sensitive issues but she, on the other hand, stood tall and told the truth. She is a recovering drug addict: cocaine, molly, acid, everything but what she referred to as “the hard stuff.” She would develop mental disorders due to her drug use as well as engage in self-harming behavior. I jotted down that she had been exceptionally abused by her uncle from the age of 4. Immediately after I wrote that, Hibaq noticed and corrected me: “sexually abused, not exceptionally abused.”

I was perplexed at her nonchalant demeanor. For a second I wondered how this SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD was so strong, so confident, so solid in her speech, and stature. She went on to explain that AfA was a major part in helping her see herself as a person.

“Art from Ashes made me feel like I could say things and be heard, as well as be happy without being high. I feel like my opinion is heard; like I matter.” AfA offers Hibaq guidance and shows her there are people who actually and genuinely care. Hibaq explained the program not only provides her with a support system but also offers a powerful coping tool: WRITING. Hibaq has always liked to write but wasn’t inclined to do so on a daily basis until she became involved with the agency.

“I turn to writing and everything feels better.”

Hibaq is compelled to use a pen rather than drugs these days. She told me AfA provides free journals to participants, and she fills them so quickly she requests one about every other week. She jokingly stated she was going to bankrupt the program because she writes all the time now. Hibaq writes about eating disorders, human rights, her traumatic past, drug addiction, self-harming behavior, women’s rights, unhealthy relationships, and just about anything she has an opinion on. She told me she is passionate about art, music, poetry, self-awareness, the universe, and what is going on in the world, and she attributes her self-awareness to what she’s learned at AfA. Hibaq touched on the writing prompts used and stated, “The brain is 2-dimensional but thoughts can be multi-dimensional. The concepts your brain comes up with are completely insane! The prompts trigger your brain, and have the power to change your perspective on things.”

Hibaq also worked for AfA as an intern from June to December of 2015. Her therapist let her know about the Governor’s Summer Program, which offers an opportunity to be employed and stay out of trouble for youth with criminal charges. AfA, in conjunction with the state-funded Governor’s Summer Program, made this possible. Hibaq enjoyed working for AfA, and said she is glad she was able to do so even through her recent relapse which saw her in rehab once again, because the people at AfA were there to support her recovery. Hibaq’s employment program with AfA has ended, but she still remains actively involved in the program.

Catherine O’Neill Thorn, Art from Ashes Executive Director, recently asked Hibaq to be a guest poet for the workshops as well as train to be a facilitator. Hibaq is exceptionally excited about being a facilitator because as she put it, she looks up to the facilitators, so to be one is something she has only dreamed of. Hibaq is also looking forward to joining the Board of Directors as a Youth Representative. Through this role she would be giving her opinion on behalf of the youth as it relates to the agency’s mission. Remember, this is a 17 year old we are talking about!

I recently saw Hibaq’s memorable performance at AfA’s 2015 Colorado Gives Annual Fundraiser where Hibaq, my son, and several other youth fearlessly and openly performed in front of a crowd of about 80 people. Hibaq has also performed for the Denver City Council as a result of being involved with AfA. Hibaq never would have done that if it weren’t for AfA.  She explained her family is Somalian. Culturally, women are expected to be meek and quiet. Hibaq stated she used to be shy about her opinions, but today she is compelled to share her views and feels empowered to do so.

The more we conversed I could see that Hibaq could not contain her enthusiasm and spark when she spoke about AfA. She erupted in excitement when she told me about Lily Fangz, a local rapper, who is one of the 30 or so guest poets at AfA. “She gives me hugs and she knows me now!” she said.

I asked Hibaq to describe the program in one word and her response was “EMPOWERING!” Hibaq stated AfA and its people are her EVERYTHING. She concluded, “They touched my heart.”

Hibaq is the true definition of Art from Ashes.

ADDENDUM: Because we met at a coffee shop, it was a public setting. One person asked what we were doing, since we seemed so passionate. We explained and he provided me with a business card and a sincere request for information about the program. Really, this is what Art from Ashes does to people!

Paper Moon
by Hibaq Osman, 17
Under the paper moon
She thinks she has the basics
But then a demon grabs her dreams
And makes a break for it
It’s a simple equation
Dreams and creation
I’m in love with the person I haven’t me
And that one place I’ve never lived
Please tell me how you can lead a life of 17 years and never live
Chained to a chain link fence
Woven by the hearts which you’ve torn from their place
It’s not a ‘whatever you think it is,’ darling It’s an arms race
And I swear, I scream at the top of my lungs
I swear
I will make a change to this world
I will change the voice of freedom
Bestow power amongst the girls
And I’ll make it to where color doesn’t matter
And race is just a four letter word
Where being queer is not weird
Where homophobia is absurd
Where society links arms with the misfit toys
And welcomes them to their island
Where the raped girl doesn’t cry when she sees her young boy
Because she wished his father’s actions didn’t define him
I swear
These faulty pieces do not define us
I swear the skies are so clear on the other side
I swear the sun will wake you up from this nightmare
And say “It’s okay honey, you don’t have to hide.
You’re absolutely fine right by my side”

Events

Wednesday Phoenix Rising Drop-In

Drop-In FlyerJoin Art from Ashes facilitators, other youth from the community, and guest poets for a FREE poetry and spoken word workshop at Art from Ashes every Wednesday from 4:30 to 6:30 pm at 1310 West 10th Ave right next to the light rail station at 10th and Osage.

All young people between the age of 12 and 24 are welcome. We provide the writing materials, art supplies, guest poets, food and drinks… You provide the creative genius!

Email us using the form below if you’d like to let us know you’re coming or want more information…and if you want to be sure you get some food. Or just DROP IN!

**UPDATE!**
For those young people who like to come early and hang out, we now have the opportunity from 2.30 to 4 pm to participate in some art projects. It’s warm, it’s friendly, it’s a safe space, and it’s fun. Hope to see you there!

Thank you so much to the Tony Grampsas Youth Services (TGYS) and to the City and County of Denver’s Office of Children’s Affairs Healthy Lifestyles grant, and to all our business sponsors and individual donors who make these workshops possible!

Contact our Director of Programs

Introductory Adult Workshop

afa-adult-workshops

Reigniting Your Creative Genius

The Phoenix Rising process is designed to allow participants to recognize their inherent creative power and how perception affects our identity and our reality. Art from Ashes uses the latest research in left-brain/right-brain functioning and the role of creativity in transformation to encourage participants to access the creative subconscious and the power available through artistic expression.
:: Saturdays from 11 am to 12.30 pm, April 22 – May 27 with Catherine O’Neill Thorn
$175 payment for the entire series of 6 one and a half hour workshops :: pay by check, cash, call us with credit card information, swipe or pay online with Paypal (below)

*You don’t need a Paypal account to pay through Paypal


Choose which series



Introductory Adult Workshop

afa-adult-workshops

Reigniting Your Creative Genius

The Phoenix Rising process is designed to allow participants to recognize their inherent creative power and how perception affects our identity and our reality. Art from Ashes uses the latest research in left-brain/right-brain functioning and the role of creativity in transformation to encourage participants to access the creative subconscious and the power available through artistic expression.
:: Saturdays from 11 am to 12.30 pm, April 22 – June 3 with Catherine O’Neill Thorn (skipping May 20)

Phoenix Rising Workshop at AfA

Phoenix Rising flyer

Join Art from Ashes facilitators, other youth from the community, and guest poets for a FREE poetry and spoken word workshop at Art from Ashes every Wednesday from 4 to 6 pm at 1310 West 10th Ave right next to the light rail station at 10th and Osage.

All young people between the age of 12 and 24 are welcome. We provide the writing materials, art supplies, guest poets, food and drinks… You provide the creative genius! You can email us using the form below if you’d like to let us know you’re coming or want more information…and if you want to be sure you get some food. Or just drop in any week at 4pm!

Thank you so much to the Tony Grampsas Youth Services (TGYS) and to the City and County of Denver’s Office of Children’s Affairs Healthy Lifestyles grant, and to all our business sponsors and individual donors who make these workshops possible!

Contact our Director of Programs

Running of the Gays 2018

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 9th annual Running of the Gays!

Running of the Gays flyerGet 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! Register with a $40 donation below:

RUNNERS Register here: bitly.com/ROTG2018
(or send by cash or check to Art from Ashes, 1310 West 10th Ave, Denver CO 80204)
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 also seek sponsorships from friends and family to raise money for the youth programs. Download the Runners Packet for more info!

SPONSORS SUPPORT YOUR RUNNER HERE!
If you are sponsoring a specific runner, please enter their name in the Special Instructions field of the Donate Now window.

BUSINESS PARTNERS SUPPORT THE MARATHON HERE!
So many thanks to our wonderful business sponsors, most of whom have been sponsoring Running of the Gays since 2010! If you’re interested in supporting our youth program, please download our ROTG Sponsor Menu.

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 at X Bar from noon to 2 pm!

See on our ROTG Facebook page to see the photos from previous years, as well as find out more information. And be sure to join this year’s event HERE!

Ace Eat Serve

Steubens

Outfront

Fleur Salon

X Bar

The Bank of Denver

Charlie's Nightclub Denver

Pizzeria Locale

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

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!

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.

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:

First Friday Youth Workshop

FREE PIZZA! FREE POETRY PERFORMANCE! RESPECT FOR YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS!

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!

WE BELIEVE IN YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS AND THAT YOUR WORDS ARE POWERFUL!

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.