Paul CliftonDirector of The Confluence Center Denver, CO Award Year: 2020
After a decade of working in schools, Paul Clifton recognizes that knowledge of self and community are key components to student success. As director of The Confluence Center, a multimedia arts center located in the Montbello neighborhood of Denver, Paul works with students, families, community partners, and educators to build a space where young people and artists engage in projects focused on community and identity. The Confluence Center’s goal is to create a learning environment that cultivates authentic agency in students over their learning experiences – one where students select from resources, people, and experiences to accomplish their goals.
Paul is using his award to expand programming in the Confluence Media Center, where participating youth used professional recording equipment to create the Black Excellence Podcast Series to amplify the voices of Black leaders, entrepreneurs, and educators in the Denver Metro Area. It can be found anywhere podcasts are streamed and Confluence Media Center’s YouTube channel is frequently updated with youth vlogs and stories rooted in their community.
Paul also used his award to collaborate with In Lak ‘ech Denver Arts and Xicano Puppet Theater to facilitate a Summer Theater Camp where youth learned indigenous and personal stories to share with their communities.