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Fast Cities

Fast Cities: Denver

Five by Five

Fast Cities: Denver

The arts may often be associated with money and power, but the Mile-High City's Five by Five program opens the doors of Denver's cultural institutions to some of its youngest and poorest residents. Five by Five gives all children and families in the Head Start program free access to 12 museums and cultural venues, including the Denver Art Museum, Colorado Ballet, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. In 2008, 3,000 participating families clocked 30,000 visits. "Eliminate the barriers to accessing culture, and our families will show up," says executive director Maria Guajardo. "As one father told me: 'I feel like the city belongs to me now.' "

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A version of this article appeared in the May 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine.