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Mark Harris

Mark Harris, an El Paso County architect, was awarded a $2,500 Colorado Creative Industries grant last week as part of CCI’s 2016 Career Advancement grant program.

A total of 15 grants were awarded in 10 counties across the state, totaling more than $28,500. These grants are given to creative entrepreneurs and artists to help stimulate their commercial creative business.

Harris’ work was selected because of the attention it has received from winning several recent international awards. Harris has been invited to present at the 2016 Venice Biennale, and is one of only a handful of Americans to attend the event, and is the only Colorado architect to ever be invited.

“The work is noted for its technical innovations, advanced design characteristics, its creativity and solving 21st century problems, sustainability and commitment to urban design and educational issues. specifically, it is 21st century solutions for 21st century problems rather than a retread of older, out-moded models,” according to a news release provided by Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade. “It has been recognized as a fresh American view on the ‘merger of the technosphere of our creation with the biosphere of our inheritance.’”

Harris has worked more than 23 years as an educational design specialist and is creating a format for conversation on new domestic educational and urban design models popular in Europe.

Grants were awarded for projects occurring between July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016. Awards range from $500-$2,500, require a cash match and are paid on a reimbursement basis. Grant requests are reviewed through a competitive process, and applicants must demonstrate artistic merit, career impact and sound budget.

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“Colorado’s national ranking for its concentration of creative industries is very high and continues to grow,” said Margaret Hunt, director of CCI. “Many creative entrepreneurs are self-employed, sole proprietors or small businesses. Career Advancement awards support creative workers and give them the competitive edge they need to take their career or business to the next level.”

To distribute support broadly throughout all the creative industries, each Career Advancement annual cycle focuses on one or more specific industry. Although projects in all creative industry areas are eligible to apply, additional points are awarded to applicants in identified strategic priority areas,” according to the news release, which added that CCI’s strategic priorities for this fiscal year are centered on film and video and photography.