Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Cecily Cullen

Center for Visual Art, Metropolitan State University of Denver
A view of Paper Work, curated by Cecily Cullen last summer at the Center for Visual Art.
#40: Cecily Cullen

If curation is an art, Cecily Cullen wields it with a broad brush; as creative director at Metropolitan State University of Denver's Center for Visual Art, she continually creates sophisticated exhibitions that take a global and multicultural look at art or offer comprehensive overviews of mediums and techniques. In the center's Emerging Artist Gallery, she turns the curatorial reins over to students, bringing the institution's goals full-circle. What motivates Cullen's international scope and innate eye for making inspiring visual connections? Keep reading for answers, via her 100CC questionnaire.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Aaron "Ukulele Loki" Johnson

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Aaron "Ukulele Loki" Johnson

Colorado Public Radio
OpenAir weekend morning show host and man about Denver, Aaron "Ukulele Loki" Johnson.
#41: Aaron "Ukulele Loki" Johnson

Aaron Johnson, aka Ukulele Loki, blithely changes hats every day: A musician, emcee extraordinaire, activist, lapsed public-school teacher, Denver County Fair freak-show host and radio host for Colorado Public Radio's OpenAir (as well as a co-founder of Boulder's Radio 1190), Johnson moves and shakes to a different drummer, all the while twirling his waxed mustache. We asked Johnson to share what makes his wacky world spin; keep reading to learn more.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Heather Dalton

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Heather Dalton

OpenAir's Alisha Sweeney and CPT12 Executive Producer and Creative Services Manager Heather Dalton.
#42: Heather Dalton

As executive producer for Colorado Public Television, Heather Dalton brings local stars and stories to life with shows like Sounds on 29th and Colorado Public Radio's OpenAir Live & Local, which turn an intimate spotlight on the Denver music scene, as well as such projects as Neal Cassady -- The Denver Years, a documentary heavy with key interviews and chunks of Beat lore that premiered in 2014 after painstaking years of imagining, filming and fundraising. What keeps Dalton's creative mind percolating through thick and thin? Learn more from her 100CC questionnaire.

See also: Sounds on 29th's Heather Dalton talks Teletunes and Denver music TV history

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Noah Van Sciver

#43: Noah Van Sciver

If you read Westword, you're familiar with Noah Van Sciver -- since 2008, when he started inking the 4 Questions feature in Backbeat, the hard-working cartoonist has been making observations about modern society and its many characters in these pages and online at But Van Sciver has a professional life beyond the fourth estate -- pumping out comic creations, spreads, sketches and graphic novels like a bat out of comic-book hell, including The Hypo, his acclaimed 2012 Fantagraphics imprint about the darker side of Abraham Lincoln. We asked the rising star what keeps him going in this difficult field; learn more about the artist from his 100CC questionnaire.

See also: Westword's second annual Comics issue: Meet the winners

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Britta Erickson

Photo credit: James Dimagiba
Britta Erickson is all smiles at a Starz Denver Film Festival red carpet event.
#44: Britta Erickson

Britta Erickson, a Denver native who's the director of the Starz Denver Film Festival, not only builds the fest from the ground up behind the scenes but also serves as its public face. Popular Denver Film Society side projects such as Film on the Rocks and the Stanley Film Festival also bloom under her watch; in her spare time -- if you can believe she has any -- she's also a film producer who often works with local talent like documentarian Daniel Junge. That's a lot for one woman to carry on her shoulders every year, but Erickson does it with charm and business aplomb, and clearly loves every minute of her work. Learn more via her 100 Colorado Creatives questionnaire, which follows.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Darrin Alfred

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Darrin Alfred

Darrin Alfred and friends in the Design After Dark photo booth.
#45: Darrin Alfred

As associate curator of architecture, design and graphics at the Denver Art Museum, Darrin Alfred -- who cut his teeth at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art before landing in Denver -- keeps the museum's design collection up-to-date, while curating such shows as 2009's popular poster show, The Psychedelic Experience; 2010's What Is Modern?, which re-explored the DAM's collection and redefined the meaning of modern design; and Pattern Play, a glimpse into the modern artistry of mid-century textile designer Jacqueline Groag, in 2013. But he also champions the Denver design community, both as a curator with an eye for local treasures and as a member of the AIGA Colorado board. More than an arbiter of taste, Alfred reminds us how good design and style can enrich our everyday lives. Where is design headed in a new century? Alfred gave us some clues by answering the 100CC questionnaire.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Susan Lyles

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Kara Duncan

Kara Duncan, "Filling the Void'," press-molded casts, three unfired white clay bodies created for the 2007 show "Luminous." Visitors were encouraged to walk on the work, crunching the casts to create remnants and dust. This was Duncan's only personal exhibit at Vertigo.
#47: Kara Duncan

Through the '90s, Kara Duncan went the art-school route, finally ending up at Cranbrook, where she earned an MFA in ceramics under the tutelage of Tony Hepburn. But in 2004, the artist began a new journey, when construction began on Vertigo Art Space, the gallery she's run since 2006, in an 1880s-vintage building in the Art District on Santa Fe. At Vertigo, Duncan gives established artists room to stretch without focusing on the commercial aspects of art, while also offering a launching pad to younger artists and students looking for a foothold in the early stages of a difficult career choice. Artists don't just exhibit work at Vertigo, they thrive in the character-building space. We invited Duncan, who supports her artists every inch of the way, to elaborate on her place in the art world by answering the 100CC questionnaire; keep reading for the result.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Jill Hadley Hooper

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Jill Hadley Hooper

Mariko Jesse
Jill Hadley Hooper at the Brown Palace Hotel. Children provided by someone else.
#48: Jill Hadley Hooper

The work of artist/illlustrator Jill Hadley Hooper can be seen nationally in the pages of the New Yorker and the New York Times, but here in Denver, she's just one of us. Hard-working and community-minded, the 2007 Westword MasterMind in the fine arts category helped found the thriving River North Arts District (aka RiNo) with fellow artist and neighbor Tracy Weil in 2006 and runs the gallery and gardens at Ironton Studios. How does she manage a stellar solo career while promoting solidarity in the arts community at large? Read Hooper's 100CC questionnaire for answers.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Tariana Navas-Nieves

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Tariana Navas-Nieves

Tariana Navas-Nieves with artist Xi Zhang.
#49: Tariana Navas-Nieves

As Director of Cultural Affairs for Denver Arts & Venues, Tariana Navas-Nieves puts her background as a museum curator to work in a million different ways. As she notes in detail below, Navas-Nieves oversees every aspect of the city's cultural face, from its highly visible public art program to the details of how public funding is parsed among arts groups of every discipline. And every event you might attend at the McNichols Building in Civic Center Park bears her seal of approval. To her credit, she wields her power while balancing an artful vision and her sense of duty to the city and its constituents. And in her spare time, she's both a mom and a cosmopolitan fashionista. Learn more from her 100CC questionnaire, which follows.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Ginger White Brunetti

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Mara Wiles

Erin Brinkley
#50: Mara Wiles

Mara Wiles broke into comedy doing improv with Denver's Impulse Theater, but soon made the shift to standup, becoming an integral member of the comedy scene and a regular attraction at local clubs and comedy nights. As a testament to her collaborative spark and likability, you'd be hard-pressed to find a stage in town that hasn't been graced by her presence, including some opening performances for national comics coming through Denver. She's often at Deer Pile and Syntax Physic Opera, where she performs as Moxie! with Kristin Rand; she was a hit at both the Laugh Track Comedy Festival (where she was crowned Best Comic in 2011) and the recent High Plains Comedy Festival. Keep reading to learn more about Wiles via her answers to the 100CC questionnaire.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Kristin Rand

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