On April 19, several hundred students from schools throughout Colorado gathered at the Auraria campus in Denver for the 4th annual Creative Careers Festival. This festival was developed to give students in Colorado creative careers CTSOs access to the following opportunities:
- skill-development workshops
- career panels and training in entrepreneurial skills
- feedback/critiques sessions for submitted projects/portfolios
- networking opportunities with students from other schools
- a chance for students to present sessions and lead roundtable discussions
At the festival, there were more than 40 different workshops that students could choose from, covering computer animation, film/video, graphic design, photography, audio technology, technical theatre, web design, product design and media communications. Local professionals in these fields, as well as educators and student leaders, led the sessions. Many of the sessions provided hands-on learning opportunities where students could experience different art fields and creative skills.
For the last five years, there has been a movement in Colorado to develop a new CTSO model for students in schools that focus on creative careers. A state-level student advisory committee was developed this year to help organize the festival. The student leaders of creative careers CTSOs at four different schools met regularly to develop the theme for the festival, organize student-led sessions and develop topics for roundtable discussions. In addition to their work in planning the event, the student leaders were highly involved in running several of the sessions and roundtables. They also presented about the work they are doing at their schools during a lunchtime gathering of all participants.