The Pluses and Minuses of Getting on the Pot Train

Sunday, June 17, 9:00 am - 10:30 am

Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational cannabis. Since retail sales began in 2014, the state has pulled in almost half a billion dollars in new revenue generated through sales tax. While the majority of revenue is supporting public schools, homelessness and substance abuse programs, it is creating a ripple effect of opportunities and challenges in the arts community. From tapping into new audiences by pairing classical music with recreational cannabis to contributing to diverse funding streams in cultural districts, learn how legalized cannabis is creating new opportunity in the arts.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn about the challenges and opportunities created for the arts community through legalized cannabis.
  2. Hear innovative ideas for developing new arts audiences through cannabis-centered events.
  3. Explore how new revenue from retail sales of cannabis is (and is not) financially benefiting arts, culture, and creative districts.



Christy Costello
Program Manager
Colorado Creative Industries
Denver , Colorado

Christy Costello is a Program Manager at Colorado Creative Industries, the state arts agency located within the Office of Economic Development. She manages the Colorado Creative District program, annual Creative Industries Summit and serves as accessibility coordinator. Her background includes museum collections management, non-profit fundraising and event management. Christy teaches courses for the DU University College Arts Management program. She is a graduate of the Colorado Creative Industries Change Leader program, Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA) Leadership Arts and serves on the CBCA Leadership Arts Alumni network committee.

Ivar Zeile
Founder / Director
Denver Digerati
Denver, Colorado

Ivar Zeile is the founder of Denver Digerati, initiated in 2011 as an entity specializing in digital imaging applications for LED screens as a new and dynamic form of public art. Central to the initiative is Supernova Outdoor Digital Animation Festival, an annual event hosted by Arts and Venues Denver and the Denver Theatre District in the heart of downtown Denver. The Denver Theatre District's LED infrastructure is unique to any other city in the country, supporting a mandate to enhance the urban core through a dynamic arts presence. Digerati's vast curatorial depth cultivates a singular, worldwide network of leading artists and animators, including local innovators, in support of multi-faceted programming. A full project history is available at

In 2001 Zeile founded Plus Gallery, one of Denver's most prestigious and celebrated contemporary art operations previously located in RiNo. Zeile served as a member of the Denver Mayor's Commission for Cultural Affairs from 2006 though 2011, and in the last decade as a board member for a variety of art-related non-profit groups in Denver including PlatteForum, the Denver Art Museum's DAM Contemporaries, RedLine and the Invisible Museum. Prior to moving his visual-arts based focus to Colorado, Zeile worked independently in film and video, including a decade on staff with the Sundance Film Festival. Additional creative history spans diverse design platforms such as graphic, industrial, trade-show and interpretive museum design.