Q & A Thursday with TOSA

We are very fortunate in Denver to have so many great organizations striving to inspire and support creative people and artists. As a part of our commitment to support the arts in Denver, the Horseshoe Craft and Flea is proud to have chosen The Other Side Arts (TOSA, located at 1644 Platte St) to be among the organizations to whom we have donated booth space.

TOSA's mission is to educate, inspire and empower emerging artists and underserved populations through visual arts programming and artist development opportunities. We love what they do for the Denver art community, and we love that they'll be at the Horseshoe. They will be offering an experiential art table, putting together "grab bags" of found objects and providing glue, scissors and paint so folks can create their own "Luck of the Draw" art piece! What fun! Make sure to stop by their table on October 2nd and check them out!
Enjoy today's Q & A and happy Thursday to you all.

HS: Can you start by telling us how and when TOSA got its start?

TOSA: A group of artists who rented space in what is now our Denver/ Platte St. location started making art in the community with the underserved in 2001. This was in response to the events of 9/11 and the awareness of the trauma it created in the psyche of Americans. They knew that not everyone had the resources to express their feelings about what happened. They set about sharing the power of art-making in Denver.

HS: Can you tell us about some of the classes/workshops/programming you offer?

TOSA: We offer art-makng and art therapy opportunities to the underserved in the community. We are currently making art with refugee children, elders, breast cancer patients.
We hire highly trained and experienced artists to offer the constituents of our partnering agencies powerful art experiences. We have had Tei Kobayashi working with our kids in our “Visiting Artist Studio” for the past three weeks on found object sculpture. They are incredibly stunning pieces.

The art therapy groups with breast cancer patients offer them a chance to express complicated ideas and emotions. The art is so powerful in bringing up some things that are often difficult to discuss. It is as though the art runs interference for the artist. Talking about the emotions of a sculpture is far easier than holding them oneself. We get to ease into owning some hard stuff around the experience of having breast cancer.

HS: What’s in store for TOSA in the coming months? In the coming year?

TOSA: In October, “Collaboration” opens in our main gallery in Denver. It is a show that is open to the entire community and encourages artists to work together to create art for exhibition. The people we serve from Special Needs Adults to Youth-at Risk will have art in the show. The kids at the African Community Center have completed a model of what their community looks like to them. It is a very cool piece!

HS: Can you tell us a bit about your artists in residence program?

TOSA: We have studios where artists can create as well as gallery space for showing their work. We have a business skill development course called Artist, Inc. where leaders in the art world share real-world knowledge about being in the business of art.

HS: If someone wanted to get more involved with TOSA, how would they go about it?

TOSA: Take a look at our website: www.theothersidearts.org We have a volunteer information sheet you can fill-in and send. You can let us know if you want to help out at openings or at one of our outreach sites.

HS: Favorite art spots in Denver?
: TOSA, of course! Museum of Contemporary Art and Denver Museum of Art are favorites, too!

HS: Favorite place to eat?
TOSA: Masterpiece Deli

HS: Best coffee?
TOSA: Happy Coffee

Thanks, TOSA!

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