The First Word

MSU Denver grads use creativity to transform.

By Michael Pearson, Managing Editor

Publish Date: September 4, 2013

How do you define creativity?

Is it the idea? The execution? The ability to change — even in a small way — the cultural landscape?

Are you born creative or can it be learned? Or is it, as the late writer Kurt Vonnegut once said, “jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down”?

This issue of Metropolitan Denver Magazine addresses the nature of creativity through myriad vocations — a wine writer, a calligrapher and an artist who works exclusively in abandoned bike parts. We also investigate the weightier side of creativity, such as our cover story exploring the “creative class,” whose efforts have contributed billions of dollars to the Denver economy, as similar classes have done in other American cities.

On a distinctly visual note, we look at the latest offerings from MSU Denver's Center for Visual Art. And we explore the University’s Social Documentary class, which trains student writers and photographers how to explore urban news by dropping them into some of the country’s largest cities.

Creativity is an expansive topic. This issue can only hint at its scope and the way MSU Denver students, faculty and graduates are helping to shape that landscape. As we discovered, it may be as direct as running a fashion boutique out of a mobile truck, or as unlikely as a constitutional law scholar who moonlights as a jazz expert.

One thing we found is that MSU Denver is a valuable incubator for this kind of contribution. Yes, students get the fundamentals, but more importantly, they are inspired to think outside the box, to break barriers, to take chances, to innovate.

We want to hear from you. Are you an innovator with a story to tell? A recent MSU Denver graduate with a daydream that is turning into reality? An artisan with a lead on the next big thing? Tell us your own story at