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Press Release

Center for Innovation Launches ‘Adopt an ARTrepreneur’ program

Art District on Santa Fe to provide first ARTfund awards

Contact: Tim Carroll, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705

Posted: May 6, 2014

The Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver today announced a new community challenge: Adopt an ARTrepreneur.

The Adopt an ARTrepreneur program challenges individuals and organizations to adopt 50 Colorado artists enabling artists to become members of the CREATE MSU Denver virtual incubator and marketplace, which was founded in 2012 to help students and community-based small, creative businesses thrive in an incubator-like environment.

“Art is a business and should be treated as such. The Art District on Santa Fe is pleased to be the first group to provide support to two artists in the CREATE MSU Denver incubator program, exposing them to the business side of creative industries,” said Jack Pappalardo, president of the Art District on Santa Fe.

While the Art District on Santa Fe approached the Center for Innovation about creating this program, there are seven other art districts, more than 120 galleries, 160 performance venues, and approximately 180 film-related businesses in the Denver metro area that are eligible to establish additional Adopt an ARTrepreneur awards in 2014.

The annual fee to adopt an ARTrepreneur is $720, but because the Center for Innovation is part of Denver’s Enterprise Zone, adopters who provide an annual donation will pay only approximately $267 after the cost of the donation is combined with tax credit benefits. In turn, each of these 50 creative entrepreneurial artists would receive a year of business, marketing and sales consulting support from the Center for Innovation.

“We feel there is a real opportunity to help artists focus on doing the right things to grow their business without having to worry about cash flow concerns that could inhibit their success as an artist,” said Mick Jackowski, Center for Innovation director. “Denver’s creative sector consists of nearly 2,900 creative enterprises and it employs more than 20,000 people in the area – the large majority of these employees are tied to small businesses in some capacity, so the potential market need is there.”

“Being part of CREATE MSU Denver gives me the confidence, accountability and motivation to accomplish what I need to as an artist,” said singer-songwriter and musician Ando Gro. “The monthly check-in meetings are a great way to help me stay organized and remained focused not just on my music, but also on the business side of being an artist.” Gro plans to launch his first self-published solo album later this fall.

Adopt an ARTtreprenuer services include business advising, showroom space on the MSU Denver campus, e-commerce support, database development, geographic targeting, interest free loans, discounted tuition and more. For more information about the program visit





About the Center for Innovation

The Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver supports all types of businesses with nearly 40 different academic majors represented in the program. Students can earn a minor or certificate in entrepreneurship that goes beyond the mainstream business curriculum. Coursework is taught by MSU Denver affiliate faculty, providing real-world experience from relationships with businesses and organizations. The center offers $2,500 micro-loans and coaching for students and community members working to grow small businesses. For more information visit


About Metropolitan State University of Denver

MSU Denver is a leader in educating Coloradans in university programs particularly relevant to the state economy and the demands of today’s employers. With the highest number of ethnically-diverse students among the state’s four-year colleges, MSU Denver offers 55 majors plus master’s degrees in accounting, teaching and social work. More than 22,000 students are currently enrolled at MSU Denver, and 75 percent of the University’s 77,000 graduates have remained in Colorado as valuable members of the state’s workforce. 

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