Steamboat Springs will host Colorado Creative Industries 2020 summit |

Steamboat Springs will host Colorado Creative Industries 2020 summit

Ahead of the 2020 Colorado Creative Industries summit in Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Creates will be continuing to support local public art. Pictured is a mural called “Forest Adventurous,” by Lance Whitner, that was created on the back of the Pine Moon Gallery building.
Christina Grant

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs’ creative scene has been gaining exposure for years, and last week, a state arts group announced news that will spotlight the city’s arts in a big way.

In May 2020, Steamboat will host the Colorado Creative Industries’ annual summit.  

Steamboat received its Creative District designation in summer 2017. The designation is an official recognition from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade’s Colorado Creative Industries division that the city is a creative hub, providing support for developing local arts and culture, including increased opportunities for creatives, marketing and tourism.

The process of Steamboat being selected to host the summit began when Kim Keith, executive director of Steamboat Creates, formerly Steamboat Springs Arts Council, sent a letter of inquiry to the Colorado Creative Industries’ steering committee.

“I am writing to request your consideration for Steamboat Springs to host the 2020 Colorado Creative Industries annual Creative Summit in Steamboat Springs, Colorado,” Keith wrote. “If selected, we will be responsive and enthusiastic partners to make the event meaningful and memorable.”

Past host cities include Breckenridge in 2012 and 2017, Pueblo in 2013, Salida in 2014 and 2019, Fort Collins in 2015, Carbondale in 2016 and Greeley in 2018. Steamboat fit the criteria, and Keith was hopeful.

The 2019 summit was held last weekend in Salida’s Steamplant and Event Center. At the end of the Governor’s Luncheon, CCI announced that the 2020 summit will be in Steamboat.

“Colorado Creative Industries is thrilled to host the ninth annual Creative Industries Summit in the Steamboat Springs Creative District,” Colorado Creative Industries Director Margaret Hunt wrote in an email. “The conference provides a platform to advance collaboration in the creative sector while celebrating the unique identity of the host community.”

Keith accepted the award, along with City Manager Gary Suiter and council member Scott Ford. Jenny Maxwell, Steamboat Creates’ strategic planner and Opera Steamboat’s vice chair of the board, sang and played guitar.

Kim Keith, left, accepts hosting the 2020 Colorado Creative Industries summit on behalf of Steamboat Creates. With Keith are Gary Suiter, center, and Scott Ford.
courtesy of Kim Keith

“This is a proud moment for Steamboat Creates and our community,” Keith said. “This means that our culture and community is being recognized at the state level for the vibrancy that we all know is here.”

From here, Steamboat Creates and Colorado Creative Industries collaborate to form a task force and move forward with planning the summit.

The summit will bring around 350 to 400 creative leaders to town for two to three days during the May off-season.

“It’s going to bring money, recognition and acknowledgement for the creatives to the town,” Keith said. “Plus, we get to show off our creatives.”

In the months leading up to the 2020 summit, there will be opportunities for local creatives to get involved with summit-related events including outdoor music performances, sponsorships, art exhibits, vending, volunteer opportunities, art creation for the summit’s Governor’s Leadership Award and summit materials, such as the design of participant goodie bags.

“We’ll really make our mark,” Keith said.

The summit’s two-day schedule includes exhibits, performances, networking, speakers, classes and workshops.

Find more information about Colorado Creative Industries at and about Steamboat Creates at

To reach Julia Ben-Asher, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @juliabenasher.

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