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UNC Grads Contribute to Growing Greeley Creative Economy

September 9, 2019

There’s no question that the creative economy in Colorado is booming. You don’t have to go far to find concerts, art exhibits, plays or other performances nearly any night of the week. Thanks in large part to an active base of UNC students and graduates, Greeley is no exception. 

Take Briana Harris ‘14 for example. Harris currently co-owns, manages and performs in The Burroughs, a 9-piece original funk and soul band based in Greeley. She also works as a freelance saxophonist, composer, and music educator for a variety of other musical project and runs Harris Artist Management, a boutique arts management and consulting business that provides customized assistance to working artists.

Briana Harris

And she’s just one example of the many UNC creatives making their mark on the local creative economy. 

“You can literally see contributions of UNC grads on the walls of many buildings in our city. Much of the public art that has been supported through the City of Greeley, like our downtown murals, has been created by UNC alumni. Ely Corliss is a specific example of an alumnus who has had a massive impact on the local music scene; he owns and manages the Moxi Theater, which has become a great venue for local bands getting their start, as well as a place that draws high-quality national acts to town,” Harris says.

UNC grads like Harris and Corliss are doing incredible work in Greeley and beyond. You can find these Bears doing everything from making artwork and music, starting creative businesses, getting hired in arts organizations, participating in arts boards and planning commissions, and so much more. 

“I see a real interest with a lot of recent grads in staying in the area and putting down roots; Northern Colorado is booming, and there are a lot of great opportunities for creatives,” Harris says. “​I work closely with Armando Silva- I'm currently his manager- and I am consistently impressed with his work ethic and ability to create community and conversation through his work. Ely Corliss is one of the hardest-hustling people I know, and he has his hands in multiple projects that are all focused on making Greeley a cool place to live. Becky Safarik, our Assistant City Manager, has been the board president for the Greeley Creative District for years, and she leads with such passion, clarity, and vision. She's been working for years on improving our community for creatives.”

Even if art isn’t your specialty, Harris says the opportunities abound for anyone to get involved. 

“Volunteer for a local music or arts festival. Also, if you don't see something here that you wish existed, start it! There is a ton of opportunity for people hungry to build something new,” Harris says. “Greeley has always been a community with a strong creative heritage, and the strength of UNC's Arts programs is a huge part of that story. I love the integration that happens between student artists and working professional artists outside of school. It's a really supportive community, and you often will find students and alumni working together on creative ventures.”

Greeley Arts Legacy

Several members of the UNC community including Dr. Howard Skinner, Ruth Savig and Helen Langworthy will be honored among the inaugural class of The Legacy Arts Hall of Fame this October. An induction ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, October 4, 2019 in the Hensel-Phelps Theatre. 

The Legacy Arts Hall of Fame was designed to recognize, acknowledge and preserve the awareness and rich history of those individuals and organizations who have demonstrated and provided a significant contribution of leadership or excellence within the arts community of Greeley.

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