The Bach project journey began in the foothills of the Rockies outside Denver, where nearly 10,000 people gathered to share a musical experience that was also a reminder of how culture can connect us. On the morning after, we took part in a day of conversation and action, celebrating the work of many Denver-area organizations and individuals who are helping to protect Denver’s most vulnerable, using culture to address challenges such as refugee integration, food security, homelessness, and urban growth. We offer heartfelt thanks to the many organizations who hosted the day and to the hundreds of citizens of Denver who came out to support them! Every one of them is an inspiring example of how each of us can use culture to imagine and build a better world. You can learn more about our visit in The Denver Post.
Do you have photos or videos from the event and want to share with us? Publish online with the hashtag #cultureconnectsus!
A lot of what we talk about in the abstract – discovering the culture of us, putting culture in action – is actually being practiced all the time by these groups.
– Yo-Yo Ma
Read about our partners
Youth on Record is a model partnership that brings together public schools, the nation’s leading housing authority, the philanthropic sector, and the local music community. Its Youth Media Studio is the anchor tenant in a Denver Housing Authority award-winning redevelopment effort, and is part of an increasingly holistic approach to uplifting the region’s most vulnerable youth through access to music.
Yo-Yo Ma: “Youth on Record is a great example of people creating their own social capital and investing in themselves.”
Redline Contemporary Art Center fosters education and engagement between artists and communities to create positive social change. Viewing art and arts education through a lens of social issues, Redline ensures equitable access to the arts for under-resourced populations by working to fulfill a vision of empowering everyone to create social change through art.
Yo-Yo Ma: “RedLine’s work is a wonderful way of thinking about a problem that some of us might shy away from; in many ways it’s at the center of how culture is addressing the concept of home in Denver.”
Re:Vision has transformed one of Denver’s most economically marginalized neighborhoods, Westwood, into a thriving, resilient community. To date, Re:Vision has installed 1,765 gardens and in 2016 grew more than 100,000 pounds of fresh produce, building a community food system in a neighborhood that has zero healthy food options. Re:Vision runs an educational kitchen that provides classes to the community on healthy eating, canning and cooking with children, and also helped incubate the only food co-op owned by members of a low income community in a food desert.
Yo-Yo Ma: “Re:Vision has mobilized a neighborhood to turn a food desert into something wonderful, and peopled it with food and art. How powerful collaboration can be!”
Roshni Step into the Light, currently based in Aurora, CO, identifies, acknowledges and supports New American cultures and artistic traditions. Roshni endeavors to create artistic endeavors with the intention to empower women, specifically mothers, and offers artistic activities and experiences for the whole family. The organization collaborates with local schools to offer classes in diverse dance and theatre traditions, and creates performances that encourage family participation and access to all. The organization also identifies, recruits and trains potential artist residents, offering professional guidance and support.
Yo-Yo Ma: “Deepali Lindblom of Roshni is helping people from all over the world to testify to their community about what they’ve gone through, but also their hopes and gratitude – I think it’s very inspiring.”
Take Note Colorado is a statewide initiative to provide access to musical instruments and instruction to every K‑12 student in Colorado, raising funds, connecting communities to music resources, and raising awareness of the importance of student-centered and culturally-relevant music instruction.
Yo-Yo Ma: “What Take Note Colorado is doing is an incredible act, creating the kind cultural literacy that allows people to find one more way of expressing themselves and understanding each other.”
Photography © Ellen Jaskol