Kitty Migaki finds inspiration in downtown Denver's architecture
You can find art all over town -- not just on gallery walls. In this series, we'll be looking at some of the local artists who serve up their work in coffeehouses and other non-gallery businesses around town.
Kitty Migaki's display at Cafe Options.
Take a look through local photographer Kitty Migaki's camera lens, and you'll be seeing ABCs all over the damn city. This second-career artist and children's book author recently traded her corporate day job for an artistic path that involves capturing downtown Denver in a whole new way. And, she's proudly displaying her work at one of the coolest work-readiness spots in town.
You already love Cafe Options for its effective implementation of the "teach a man to fish" philosophy. It's part of Work Options for Woman, an organization that provides practical training and real jobs for people who are trying to overcome poverty, drug abuse, or homelessness by teaching on-the-job skills they can actually use.
"Their agenda is much more powerful than my display," says Migaki, whose alphabet pictures are currently brightening the café's newest addition: a gallery wall for budding local artists.
Last year Katherine Henry, executive director of Work Options for Women, decided to repurpose one wall of the restaurant in order to support women in another way. "We've been doing this for almost a year now, and the gallery rotates out every two months," says Henry.
Local is important to WOW. "Most of our food is made from scratch, we use a local coffee company to provide our coffee, and we just wanted to continue on with that theme by representing local artists in our gallery," Henry explains. While some themes are more socially conscious, overall there's been a nice mix of art that provides a talking point for customers, Henry says. Fifteen percent of all sales go to Work Options for Women; the rest goes to the artist.
Migaki was introduced to Café Options by creativity coach, artist, photographer and mentor Teri O'Neill Keller, who "is the mover and shaker behind a number of people's projects in the community and tries to bring artists together with opportunities," explains Migaki. "In my case, I'm a children's book writer."
Denver's Central Library, by Kitty Migaki. At Elitch Gardens, by Kitty Migaki.
Keep reading for more of Kitty Migaki's story and photos.