Arts & Entertainment

MCA Denver shares artists’ creative process

‘How Art is Born’ returns for second season


There’s a podcast now for almost everything — listeners can get guidance on tackling mental health challenges, learn about practically any period of history and develop strategies for a fantasy league.

But explaining the creative impulse? That’s a little trickier.

Yet that’s just the task that the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver set for itself with its podcast, “How Art is Born.” Now in its second season, the show features conversations with a range of artists about their process, creativity and more.

The show is hosted by R. Alan Brooks, who teaches graphic novel writing for Regis University’s MFA program and Lighthouse Writers Workshop.

“As the host of this podcast, I get to talk to cool people making cool things. I love discovering how people can bring their art into the world, and the many forms it takes,” Brooks said in a news release. “From what I’ve heard, a lot of our listeners have the same experience, and I’m thankful for that. It’s dope that this show gives me the opportunity to talk with so many lovely and brilliant people.”

We spoke with Courtney Law, MCA Denver’s director of communications, partnerships and digital initiatives, about the podcast, what listeners can expect and more.

Interview edited for brevity and clarity.

Tell me about the genesis of the podcast?

In my role at the museum and in thinking of how we want to live in the world outside of our building, I thought that a podcast about how art is made and where ideas come from could live in a space that we don’t really see other podcasts occupying. There are podcasts about art history, how to make a career out of being an artist and things like that, but nothing quite like this. As a consumer and someone who works at a museum, I find stories with creative people about they make their art really compelling.

What is the podcast about?

Our host, R. Alan Brooks, spends each episode in conversation with one or two artists and they delve deeply into the creative process. And as listeners, we get to bear witness to a really intimate and vulnerable conversation. 

What kind of guests have appeared?

In the first season, we largely worked with artists we have an existing relationship with at the museum, but this season we’re expanding our network outside of Denver, with someone based in L.A. and couple in Mexico City. We’re reaching further out into the world to have conversations about the process and how to get started. But as a museum, we have a deeply held value to highlight the work of artists in our community, so that will always be part of the podcast. 

What kind of guests are appearing this season?

We have 10 episodes coming this season, with the goal of releasing new seasons in the spring and the fall. We have musicians, authors, two Meow Wolf artists and a chef. Creativity is often so much broader than what we collectively allow ourselves to think of it as. 

The guests represent a wide range of art making and even within similar mediums, how each person got started and the barriers they overcame are so personal. Some stories are funny and some are so tender. And Alan is an amazing person, artist and conversationalist; the results are so much more profound than I had expected.

What do you hope listeners come away with?

I hope people are enriched by the conversations and for many creatives, that it may helpful to hear about others’ experiences. When you’re operating in a vacuum and trying to put out work into the world it can be really challenging. But when you see others' successes, it can be inspirational. I hope listeners get connected to the creativity taking place in Colorado and a deeper sense of connection to the creative process in general. Maybe they’ll see themselves in this and explore their own practices in a deeper way. 

MCA Denver, art, podcasts, arts, Clarke Reader, Denver, R. Alan Brooks, Regis University, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, How Art is Born, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Courtney Law


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