They are proud of the two studios they have opened in the Denver area bringing the love of Folklorico and Flamingo dancing in an inclusive environment. Their primary studio is located at 6th & Inca . ArtistiCO works to make dance lessons to Latinos and the Hispanic accessible to all, regardless of income or demographics. Their dance academy has approximately 50 students and they perform three recitals a year. Jose and Alfonso work to find funding and grants to help students pay for classes.
The second layer of their organization is designed to present performances for the community while educating the community on their Latino/Hispanic culture. Jose and Alfonso coordinate bringing in 30 professional dancers from Mexico, NY, and CA for their Presents Series which includes four major performances from June through December. They start their season in June during Pride Month with a show at El Potrero Night Club and end the season in December with a Christmas performance at the Newman Center. A unique process these two owners employ is going to Mexico to purchase fabric and employ seamstresses to create the costumes for all their performances. A little fun fact is it takes 12 to 15 yards of fabric per costume.
ArtistiCO originally sought funding for their startup dance studio from a traditional bank but did not qualify, so they approached CEF. Due to the initial loan, ArtistiCO was able to buy a floating spring floor, mirrors, bars, and other equipment to build their studio. As a result of ArtistiCO’s success and the foresight of a landlord wanting to make a meaningful impact, ArtistiCO recently purchased the studio at 6th & Inca that they had rented for several years. This part of town was important as it has historically been where many Latinos grew up. Jose was born and raised in Denver and wanted to have a business in Denver. Jose states “ArtistiCO wants to be a pillar in the community. They want to stay. The neighborhood is important due to the culture connection.”
What does the future hold for ArtistiCO? ArtistiCO feels marketing is the next phase to continue to build awareness. They hope to have multiple locations to cover the seven major counties in Denver Metro and maybe add some additional styles of dance although they will never lose their focus of Mexican folklore dance.
When asked how CEF helped with their business journey, Jose replied “If it weren’t for CEF giving us the opportunity when no one else would, we would not have been able to purchase state of the art floor or access the resources CEF has provided ArtistiCO. CEF is accessible and amazing.”