Empowering Women through the Arts

Littleton, CO   |


Athena Project empowers all women and underrepresented genders through the arts by providing these artists with paid work opportunities while also ensuring audiences get to see and hear them. We change the world, one paid underrepresented artist at a time.

Ruling year info


Founder and Executive Producer

Angela Astle

Main address

5761 S Youngfield St

Littleton, CO 80127 USA

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NTEE code info

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In the US, and around the world, women have a vibrant and vital presence in the arts but did you know that right now the huge majority of women working in arts industries are in the least influential roles, with low pay and poor representation? Overwhelmingly, leadership positions like Stage Directors, Museum Chiefs, Movie Directors, Cinematographers, Choreographers, Music Producers, Head Designers, Featured Artists... are still dominated by men. Which means womens voices, and all underrepresented genders influences and ideas are being systematically muffled.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Girls Create

Girls Create is a summer camp series that empowers young women and nonbinary youth, in 6th-10th grade, to become future artistic leaders. Girls explore art forms including playwriting, comedy, fashion design, and new this year -- self-expression through art called Artfully Minded.. Professionals teach, guest artists share their expertise, and mentors from the community guide and encourage empowering girls and nonbinary people to lead and to effect change in themselves and others through creative learning. Each week-long session culminates with a performance or exhibit of the participants work with friends, family, and the public.

Population(s) Served

Curating Art for Impact offers unique experiential art curated/produced in collaboration with community partners, with a goal of paying all women artists and artists from underrepresented identities by partnering with businesses or nonprofits looking to engage with the arts for entertainment. artBURSTs, a program of Curating Art for Impact, brings more pop-up performances to underserved communities with limited arts access. Pop-up performances include musicians in the backs of pedicabs and visual art work on a mobile billboard truck, in addition to pop-up stages occurring where dancers, spoken word artists, and comedians perform.

Population(s) Served

Read & Rant is Athena Projects book-club-exploring-plays written primarily by women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community as well as from other underrepresented identities. We read one to two unproduced scripts each month and typically meet every third Monday online via Zoom, to discuss the works. Learn what makes a good script, discuss how it affects us, and explore the ways it links to the larger world. This monthly free offering to the community aims to raise awareness of the underrepresentation of womens stories on stage and are led by professional Dramaturgs.

Please visit our event page in order to find out how to obtain the scripts each month.

Population(s) Served

Artful Reflections takes place at a gallery (owned or curated by women and artists from underrepresented identities), where participants are invited to reflect about the artwork and let the art in to increase their understanding of themselves and others. Featured artists are invited to listen to the impact of their art at this 3x/year event, open to artists and non-artists alike. Through the participants experience of the art and the moderated conversations that follow, connection and community are strengthened.

As part of our mission to empower women through the arts, these Artful Reflections events create a forum to connect artists with each other and their communities.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Women and girls

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Athena Project was founded in 2012 to address the critical gender gap in the creative life of the Denver theatre. Women's creative endeavors continue to be underrepresented in professional American theatre. Furthermore, womens presence in the theatre, and broader artistic communities, tend to be limited to non-leadership roles, resulting in the systemic silencing of womens voices from our creative communities. Athena Projects vision is to correct this disproportionate representation of women in our artistic communities by creating opportunities for women artists to develop/showcase their work within a professional setting. Athena Project believes that by supporting womens artistic voices we not only empower future artistic leaders, but we build a stronger, more dynamic and diverse society for all people. We envision a world with gender equity where women, trans, and nonbinary voices are valued and amplified in the arts.

Athena Project celebrates and nurtures the artistic expression of women and underrepresented genders, working actively for equality of opportunity, recognition and pay based on artistic merit while serving the larger arts community. We continue to create a safer space for the expression and growth for all women, trans, non-binary, and LGBTQIA+ individuals.

Our programs are developed to ensure we are meeting community needs and creating space for all artists to empathize with each other, build relationships, and share resources. We prioritize being able to extend payment to artists for their work, amplifying artists work through social media platforms, and providing supportive networks so artists may grow relationships with one another and with community-at-large.

By partnering with other entities, and using our platform, we connect artists to audiences and artists to each other. We prioritize evaluating ourselves and our partners with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion practices. We listen humbly, dig in and get uncomfortable, speak out against injustice, own our mistakes, always working towards understanding and empathy. We aim to uplift nondominant identities in all programming/partnerships as well.

Athena Project has been building community and amplifying the artistic contributions of all women and underrepresented genders within the arts through programming, intentional partnering, and advocacy work. Since 2012, the organization has served more than 2,300 artists and 365,000 audience members. Accomplishments in 2022-23 include:

- In 2022, we consolidated our Plays In Progress (PIP) Series into Read & Rant, a book club that reads plays and partners with playwrights, dramaturgs, + community members to elevate womens stories. We now serve 2 women playwrights and dramaturgs per month for 22 playwrights/year vs. 4-6 that were previously showcased annually under PIP.
- Revamped our submissions process to a lottery format, with a call for submissions due by the 1st of each month. Our team holds a lottery to select 4 scripts for full review, with 2 of those plays selected to participate in Read & Rant, while remaining 2 plays still receive written feedback from Dramaturg team that read their work.
- In year 2 of partnering w/Focus Points Family Resource Center, including curating performers for Huerta Urbana Farmers Market, a social enterprise bringing fresh food to the Elyria-Swansea community.
- Our earned revenue program, Curating Art for Impact, had its most successful year yet! Growing this program means more community partnerships w/nonprofits in historically underserved areas. This helps underrepresented artists tell their stories via existing community relationships; funding from those organizations allows us to pay those women and underrepresented genders.
- Curated entertainment for American Heart Associations annual luncheon May, 2023 and a STEM conference plus a fundraising event in the fall. This relationship continues into 2024 with Athena Project curating ongoing artistic support for all of their events.
- In June, 2023, we partnered with Cherry Creek North to provide musicians for their Live & Local series of pop-up performances by musicians throughout the neighborhood. For this project we hired + PAID over 100 artists85% of them women.
- Entering year 4 of curating Women in Their Infinite Forms in partnership with Dairy Block + Denver Milk Market. This is a visual art installation of table top lamps designed from the theme Women In Their Infinite Forms.
Two foundations awarded return grants (Union Pacific and Bowen Family Foundation). The amount of funding for Bowen and SCFD both doubled.
- We implemented more follow-up surveys after each program to gather feedback and are collecting demographic information to measure our impact. We consistently ask for identity markers, whether on post-event surveys or by asking those questions from artists on submission calls, in order to better achieve our DEIA goals.

This year, were focused on capacity building, developing marketing strategy for improved engagement and increasing stipends for back-end admin support.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Board of directors
as of 02/05/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Anne Myers

Holly Porterfield

Kim Krueger

Liz Black

Kathy Blegen-Huntley

Sarah Kolb

Olivia Moffett

Jessi Whitten

Stephanie Speer

Rohini Gupta

Stephanie Rance

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/18/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


No data

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.