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KUNC is here to keep you up-to-date on the news about COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — Colorado's response to its spread in our state and its impact on Coloradans.

Look For The Helpers: Denver Aerialist Helps Artists Find New Roles

Martha Wirth
Courtesy of Amber Blais
Amber Blais, producing director for Rainbow Militia, started the Colorado Artist Talent and Skills Database to help artists find work during the coronavirus pandemic.

A popular meme going around social media right now includes a quote from Mr. Rogers: "When I was a young boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'"

In a new segment, "The Helpers," KUNC is collecting stories of local helpers, people who are going above and beyond to aid others during this time of crisis.

Amber Blais is the producing director for the Denver-based circus troupe Rainbow Militia. While she typically can be found high above the crowd as an aerial silks acrobat, now she's the creator of the Colorado Artist Talents and Skills Database. The program helps creatives who have had gigs canceled or postponed due to the need for social distancing find work using their other abilities.

Blais, who has a background in marketing and web coding as well as tarot card reading, figured if she had all these skill sets, other artists did, too.

"A lot of us as working artists have more than just our performance skills, although that's what we're passionate about," Blais said.

The database allows artists looking for work to add their name, skills and contact information into a Google spreadsheet. Then people who want to support artists can hire from the list for a variety of things ranging from yoga classes to bookkeeping.

Like many artists and arts organizations, Rainbow Militia had to postpone its upcoming Invisible Circus show, impacting 10 artists slated to perform. Blais said the ripple effect of cancellations is scary, but she and other artists are optimistic that art patrons will be there for them.

"Our community is really strong and there's a lot of people who can help us to thrive," she said. "And if you have the means to be able to do so, now is your chance to really support the arts and make sure that it doesn't disappear when the time comes to start back up again. I don't want it to be a scary message — there is a lot of hope but now's the time to act."

If you know of a helper making a difference right now, contact Stacy Nick at stacy.nick@kunc.org.

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