This month street papers around the world are celebrating our vendors. Many are holding Big Sell events, during which they’ll ask local politicians and celebrities to sell their publications for an hour. Follow along with the international action on Twitter (#VendorWeek).
The Denver VOICE will hold our own version of the Big Sell on Feb. 4. During the event, VOICE staff, board members, and community supporters will team up with vendors for an hour on the 16th Street Mall, learning more about the hard work they do every day.
It’s not an easy job, selling the VOICE. For every sale that vendors make they also get plenty of rejections, yet they take these in stride with grace and dignity. The vendors are a continuous source of inspiration to those of us working behind the scenes to put the paper together.
If you can’t make it to the Big Sell, you can still help support VOICE vendors throughout the month of February by spreading the word about what they do. After you’re done reading this issue, pass it along to a friend or a coworker. Take a photo with your regular vendor and post it to Instagram, or give your vendor a shout-out on Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to tag us (@denvervoice, #vendorlove) so we can share those words of encouragement.
As a VOICE customer, you’ve likely had a conversation with one of our vendors—and if you haven’t yet, I encourage you to take the time to get to know your vendor a little better the next time you see him or her. You’ll quickly find out how thoughtful they are.
Many VOICE vendors are also artists and writers—and poets too. Last month Heather Sweeney, MFA candidate and Allen Ginsberg Fellow at Naropa’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, started teaching a regular poetry workshop for our vendors. Part of our mission is to publish the voices of those experiencing homelessness and poverty. This month we’re showcasing those voices in a special poetry section on page 10—be on the lookout for more to come as the class continues.
In addition to the street poetry, we’ve got a photo essay in this issue exploring street art in Denver. There is a wealth of street art in this city, and a vibrant community of artists creating it (we can barely scratch the surface in three pages). And if that’s not enough inspiration for you, we’ve got plenty more packed into these pages.
From all of us behind the scenes and on the front lines, thank you for being a part of our program. You make it possible for us to do everything we do. ■