Tributes and performances mark three decades for the successful district
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and the Colorado House and Senate joined the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District at the Colorado Capitol to celebrate the district’s accomplishments over the last three decades.
Enacted by voters in 1988, the district contributes millions of dollars to arts, science and cultural organizations across the seven-county Denver metro area by collecting one penny in sales tax on every $10 spent and using it to support hundreds of organizations.
Colorado lawmakers offered tributes on both the House and Senate floor to mark the occasion. Usual proceedings of the legislative session such as the performances of the National Anthem and reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance were also performed by organizations benefitting from SCFD funding, such as the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus and the Executive Director of the Colorado Railroad Museum, Donald Tallman. Gov. Hickenlooper later provided a gubernatorial proclamation and presided over additional performances and displays by district-funded organizations.
“The value of the SCFD simply cannot be overestimated,” said Gov. Hickenlooper. “This ‘Little Penny that Could’ is literally responsible for our state’s reputation as an arts and culture leader and has ensured that the Denver metro area continues to be a cultural and economic driver. The district’s reach and value can’t be overestimated.”
In 2017, the district awarded more than $57 million to nearly 300 organizations across Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties.
“The cultural landscape was forever changed when voters opted to begin to invest in it in the late 1980s,” said House Speaker Crisanta Duran, (D-Denver), who sponsored a tribute to the district in the House. “It has served all of us well and will continue to be a pillar of what makes our state and our region great.”
Since its inception, the district has been reauthorized by voters three times, the most recent in 2016 when 63 percent of voters registered their support for continue the district’s work for an additional 12 years.
“This district exists because a majority of voters’ time and again saw the wisdom and the value in investing in the heart and soul of our state, our arts and culture,” said Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, (D-Arvada), who sponsored a tribute in the Senate. “The results of that investment are undisputed. We have more vibrant communities and a stronger economy because of it.”
The SCFD’s celebration was marked by performances and appearances from some of the district’s nearly 300 funded organizations. A variety of performances, visual displays, and exhibits demonstrated the breadth of disciplines that SCFD funds. The west foyer of the capitol saw dance performances from Indian dance studio, Mudra Dance Studio as well as Fiesta Colorado, a Hispanic dance company. Additional performances were given by students from the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestra and choral ensemble Kantorei, who sang from the third floor of the capitol rotunda. Interactive exhibits featured musicians and instruments from Swallow Hill Music, birds from HawkQuest, invertebrates from the Butterfly Pavilion, and selected animals from the Denver Zoo.
“This district’s longevity is because our community values the organizations we fund. It’s just that simple,” said Rob Johnson, SCFD Board of Directors chairman and board representative from Jefferson County. “This kind of investment is so ingrained in our way of thinking about how we encourage and support our most beloved institutions, that it’s become nearly impossible to imagine our Denver metro area without it.”
For the past 30 years, the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) has been a catalyst for culture across the Denver metro region. With one powerful penny collected from every ten dollars spent in our seven counties, SCFD has provided invaluable financial resources, creating an ecosystem of unparalleled access, invaluable education, and above all, a sense of wonder that comes from experiencing arts, culture, and science.
The diverse organizations funded by SCFD do more than educate and inspire. The nearly 300 cultural institutions that make up the SCFD family contribute more than $1.8 billion to the regional economy, employ more than 10,000 people, and reach approximately 4 million children each year. For 30 years, SCFD has secured a place for art, biology, music, zoology, dance, history, nature, botany in the fabric of our lives – ensuring nothing less than culture for all.