Meet Chris Hinds, Denver Councilman, Accessibility Activist, and CSM’s Newest Board Member
Chris Hinds was elected to the Clyfford Still Museum Board of Directors in September of 2019. Hinds brings a wealth of experience to the Museum, particularly in the areas of inclusivity and accessibility which are high priorities for the Museum.
In August 2008, after photographing the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Chris Hind’s life was irrevocably changed. He was riding his bike and was involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, which left him paralyzed from the chest down.
Since that time, Hinds has fought for transportation access for all and has won at the local, state, and national levels. Signed into law in May 2018, the Chris Hinds Act closes loopholes to prevent the fraudulent use of disability parking in Colorado. In 2019, Hinds ran for and won a seat on the Denver City Council, representing District 10, which includes the Golden Triangle District, home to the Clyfford Still Museum.
We recently interviewed the councilman over email for our member magazine, Words on Paper. His story and the plans he has for the Museum are so exciting, that we’re including excerpts of our interview on our website for everyone to enjoy.
Clyfford Still Museum: What made you want to join our board of directors?
Chris Hinds: I’ve always been deeply engaged with the arts, particularly music and painting (I was one class shy of majoring in art). I joined the board of directors at the Museum so I can help curators and staff achieve their vision of inclusive access to the arts, which would allow as many patrons as possible to experience Still’s work on their own terms. It’s an exciting vision.
Why do you think the Museum is important for District 10 and Denver?
Growing up in rural Texas, the closest art museum was hours away. I live in Denver now and work right next to a museum campus that sustains four major museums within one square block. The contrast in the experiences from my youth and today throws into sharp relief the value of a robust museum presence throughout the city. It’s deeply and personally felt.
The Clyfford Still Museum is unique because it is dedicated to one artist’s life work. A collection like it is remarkably intimate. Walking through an exhibit of his work, you get a sense of his personality and vision—the way he saw the world. I think there’s a lesson to learn about the importance of nurturing creative expression. It’s important for everyone, down to our youngest children, to feel the processes of creative expression. The Clyfford Still Museum lets you experience what it means to tap into your own creativity.
Why are the arts important for Denver?
There’s more to life than career climbing and paying the bills. As we rush through daily life, often we don’t fully take in what’s around us. It’s vital to slow down, carve out time to observe and contemplate, make time to look at alternatives to our lived experiences—different colors, sounds, shapes, textures, tastes, and ideas. The visual arts encourage you to look at the world differently.
As a new city council member, what are your key priorities for District 10?
When I ran for the city council, my number one priority was ensuring that my constituents in District 10 could move around the district and the city safely and securely. I’m critical of the current relationship between land use and transit infrastructure. There are innumerable destinations in District 10 that people from all over the city visit, including the combined museum and library campus in which the Clyfford Still resides. I want to make sure everyone can access the streets, parks, and campuses comfortably and safely.