The book end of the creative sector

If you’ve been following this column you know that Colorado’s creative sector is the fifth largest employment sector in the state, employing over 186,000 people. It is larger than defense & security, agribusiness, food processing and is almost as large as biotechnology and IT & telecommunications. The creative sector is made up of six sub-groups: design, film & media, heritage & museums, performing arts, visual arts & crafts and literary & publishing.

The second largest group within our creative sector is literary and publishing which employs nearly 33,000 people in over 1,400 business establishments. It includes authors, poets, writers, editors, publishers, bookstores, printers, newsstands and libraries. This group has experienced a slight decline in recent years mainly due to the commercial printing area with its industry consolidations and the rise of electronic media.

We have a lot to be proud of when it comes to our literary and publishing sector. A few examples are: greeting card publishers Current USA and Leanin’ Tree, strong library systems such as the Arapahoe Library District, bookstores such as The Tattered Cover and of course great business publications like ColoradoBiz Magazine.

I recently had the opportunity to visit with two individuals who are making a difference in the literary and publishing sector and to our creative economy in general. Here is what I learned.

Modern In Denver

Modern in Denver magazine which just entered its third year of publication is the brainchild of graphics designer William Logan. The quarterly magazine covers the world of art, architecture, furniture, design and interesting people in the Denver area. The target audience for the publication is interior designers, architects, real estate professionals and anybody who is interested in adding a touch of art and design to their world.

When talking to William as to what “modern” means (I am still not sure) we had a chuckle as to how you don’t need to travel to the coasts to get a dose of culture. Apparently there are still people who think we ride horses in Denver (maybe they visited when the National Western Stock Show parade was going on) and that the ski lift comes down to the State Capitol – Modern In Denver will help dispel those ideas!

The magazine is slick with great photography, interesting stories and printed on fine paper. Most of the advertisers are local suppliers of all things art and design. You can find Modern In Denver on many magazine racks as well as the great local bookstore, The Tattered Cover. They also have a website where you can get a taste of what modern means in Denver – — check it out! was created by local IT professional Ken Hamel and is an example of what one individual can do to promote our local creative economy – more specifically the visual arts. Unlike Modern In Denver, exists entirely in the virtual world in the form of a website and email newsletters.

The website has been in existence for over three years and you can think of it a polished bulletin board where Denver Area artists, galleries and museums post their upcoming shows or events complete with images and event details. Ken funds this project himself with and you won’t find it cluttered with a lot of ads, only a few links to Amazon for art books — I guess just being a part of the local art community is payment enough!

It is interesting that is taking advantage of a perfect storm, one where the local media coverage of the arts is declining coupled with an increase in the number of artists having shows in the Denver Metro area. Ken’s idea of connecting people who like art with artists and galleries should become a great model for other areas in the State to promote this important creative group. If you want to keep up with what’s happening in the Denver art scene be sure to check out

Help keep our literary and publishing sector vibrant. Do business with Colorado enterprises and if they have advertisers support them as well. Our local printers especially need your support. Together we can grow our State economy and you can make a difference.
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