Art Restart Wins Audience Favorite at Trout Tank

Trout Tank, sponsored by Colorado Lending Source, and Mission Yogurt, is an event that takes place five times a year, where Colorado entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to lenders and investors.

After 15 hours of preparation and training, the top five entrepreneurs from the Trout Tank: Pitch Accelerator shared how they wanted to grow their business with an expert judging panel, lenders, investors and the community this past June. Join us at the next Trout Tank Pitch Accelerator on Aug. 28.

“We have a powerhouse accelerator program for our participants and we’re proud that with Mike O’Donnell, Executive Director of Colorado Lending Source, we can provide the opportunity for them to share their ideas, make connections and start or grow their business,” said Denver Metro Small Business Development Center’s Executive Director Abram Sloss.

Art Restart is a social enterprise of The Gathering Place (TGP), Denver’s only daytime drop in center for women, children and transgender individuals experiencing poverty. Learn more about the exciting work that the latest Trout Tank winner, Art Restart.

In 2013, TGP’s management decided to explore the idea of a social enterprise in order to implement another revenue generating source and help our member artists earn money. TGP was already implementing a program called The Card Project, where artists created original works and were sold to the public. They decided to expand upon this idea and create Art Restart, which reproduces original art on a variety of products to sell to customers. Art Restart has earned over $250,000 in revenue, sells products across the country and benefits over 40 artists who are experiencing poverty.

“We use lots of free resources like social media and grass roots strategies like pop-up shops to build our brand awareness, that’s why participating in Trout Tank was so amazing for us – to be able to spread the word about our work to the Denver community in a meaningful way.” said Art Restart’s Executive Director, Teresa Densmore.

Art Restart’s message to the community is that every person is worthy of respect and dignity. It doesn’t matter where they sleep at night, they can still provide value to this world and make it beautiful. While Art Restart’s artists appreciate using their talents to create beautiful works of art, there is something even more special about this program: the artists develop a feeling of self-worth when someone purchases their design. Art Restart is about much more than money, it’s about helping artists, who just happen to be women experiencing poverty, feel valued in this world.

Tatiana Lopez is the programs coordinator for the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center.