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Working artists

Sometimes creativity can pay the bills

After graduating from college, I was accepted into a Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing. One week before classes began, I panicked and withdrew from the program. What future job prospects could I expect with this type of degree? It never occurred to me that there were potential careers in which I could utilize my creativity and art background as an asset. It turns out, the creative industry is thriving, especially here in Colorado.  I caught up with three artists to learn more about the creative professions that are paying the bills and where they continue to find inspiration.

Megan Ternus
Motion Designer  |  Lumenati

What was your motivation to enter a creative field?
My love of design and curiosity about animation led me to art school, where I learned about motion design. It’s a merging of graphic arts and time-based media. I’m also a fine-artist in my own time, which is founded in a lifelong love of drawing and making and fostered by art school.

What sparks your inspiration?
A really savvy color palette always intrigues me, and so does the exploration of foreground vs negative space. Film is a great source of inspiration for both motion design and fine art. A title sequence or other interstitial graphics may inspire me just as much as the color palette and composition of a scene.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?
Typically, I’ll create animated graphics that will be incorporated into a video edit. These graphics can include logo animations, on-screen text, infographics, and transitions. Sometimes I do more design legwork for the animation I’ll make, and sometimes I make storyboards. Also, my mini dachshund comes to the office with me. He has a critical eye.

How is Lumenati contributing to the local art scene?
Lumenati is actively becoming a space for artists of many mediums to gain exposure. I was able to feature my fine art in a showcase this past April (as well as upwards of 90 artists) right in the warehouse where I normally work. Our walls are covered in murals from great artists.

Amy Leiter
Board Certified Art Therapist & Founder  |  Violet Hive

What was your motivation to enter a creative field?
I was previously a graphic designer, and I had a calling to feel that my work had more impact in our world. I wanted to build a deeper connection with individuals and work to support others in healing.

What sparks your inspiration?
Seeing people change right in front of your eyes as they heal through the use of art and a supportive art therapist or art facilitator. In art therapy, there is a confidential and therapeutic relationship and often I work one-on-one. In Art as Healing, we are working within the community or at our studio in groups. This is not therapy, but due to art being inherently healing, there can be benefits that occur, such as building confidence and self-esteem, using your voice or perspective to express yourself in a new way, building community with others by seeing you are not alone in your experiences.

Are there any particular trends in the art community/creative industries that have piqued your interest over the last few years?
A return to process art to heal and an openness for collaborations. The arts are what we need to heal our communities and world. They help young people and adults to stay in touch with themselves in the present moment, to respond differently than they may have before, and in turn change their experiences to be more what they desire.

Why did you start Violet Hive?
We create our own realities so, in turn, we create our world. We should never deny or ignore anyone’s experiences, but I hope we can all start to see we are more alike than different and see, listen, participate and heal ourselves and others together. Community, respect, and empathy can do that.

Clark Whittington
Founder & Chief Operator  |  Artists in Cellophane/Art-o-Mat®

What was your motivation to enter a creative field?
I was born into a family of art, music and textile mill employee resourcefulness. I was surrounded by family and neighbors who were full of ideas and well-experienced regarding problem-solving. It was a natural progression.

Are there any particular trends in the art community or creative industries that have piqued your interest over the last few years?
It is refreshing that organizations, museums, etc. have been forced by social media to reevaluate how they connect with their patrons and visitors. The days of expecting people to show up for an exhibit (just look at it and be grateful) seems to be dwindling. People want to be engaged and feel a part of a discussion, part of an experience.

What outcomes do you hope for with your work?
I want to go down as an artist who treated other artists well, gave them a fair shake and stayed true to the original conceptual idea of Art-o-mat® while resisting pressures that would make our studio close shop.


Anythink Wright Farms is now home to an Art-o-mat®. These repurposed cigarette machines dispense original works of art from artists across the country. Anyone can submit art for inclusion – check out the guidelines at artomat.org, and visit Anythink Wright Farms to purchase your next piece. 


  • There are 8 art museums and over 70 art galleries in Denver.
  • In 2020, Denver will become the second city in the country to house Meow Wolf, an immersive art experience.
  • There are more than 100 murals in the RiNo neighborhood. RiNo’s CRUSH WALLS festival, which was founded by local muralist Robin Munro in 2010, brought artists from all over the world together to create more than 86 original works of public, urban art this past September.

Send your questions or feedback to ithink@anythinklibraries.org or post in the comments below.