Seven female cast members, including Pekarek, pose and sing on a stage made of distressed wood in front of a blue backlight

An Open Letter to the Community

Hassan Salem

The great Irish playwright Oscar Wilde once said: “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”

In other words, theatre builds community and compassion. Theatre uplifts and illuminates. It educates and it entertains. It questions and it heals. And after the applause fades, the curtain closes and the lights dim, it lasts in our collective memory for a lifetime.

During the pandemic, performing arts organizations were among the first to close and the last to reopen. Many of our peers across the nation have scaled back, cut programs, or closed down. But there is something special happening in our metro Denver community, something that is fundamental to what our residents value most — a vibrant region rich with opportunities.

With audiences currently totaling 850,000, it is clear that the DCPA is more than a night on the town; rather, it is a treasured part of our community’s rich cultural fabric.

As the Denver Center enters its 45th season, we have announced an ambitious five-year strategic plan with six core goals, the first of which is to create one million engagements annually.

These new goals also include programming that reflects our community, collaboration with our fellow SCFD cultural organizations, and increased utilization of our spaces by community groups.

All of these goals and others will require us to increase participation in existing programs, engage with our community in meaningful ways, and explore new ideas and approaches to our work. It will require partnerships with our neighbors, colleagues, and schools; investment by our donors and sponsors; and collaboration within our incredible team. And most importantly, it will need active participation by our community — our neighbors, friends, and future patrons — to be a success.

As Chairman of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, I am delighted to share with you my own love and appreciation of theatre and arts education. It is through hard work and community-building that, by our 50th anniversary season, we will be a place where everyone feels welcome…a place where everyone has a story to tell and an audience with which to share.

Warm regards,
Hassan Salem
Head of Commercial Banking, U.S. Bank
Chairman, Denver Center for the Performing Arts