Denise R. Duarte is a native Nevadan, an activist, a multidisciplinary/socially-engaged artist, a writer and a community development consultant with D’Arte Designs, LLC.
Her current artwork focuses on feminist and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) issues. The feminist series examines the historical context behind contemporary women’s issues. The LGBT series uses the metaphor of the diversity of plants to illustrate that it is a human construct to narrow the definition of normal.
Currently, Denise serves on the Advisory Board for Women of Diversity Productions, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. She co-authored the inaugral Gaming Gender Equality Index with Dr. Marlene Adrian and was the Program Chair for the First Ladies First Nevada Sesquicentennial.
Formerly, Denise was the Community Arts Development Specialist with the Nevada Arts Council, the Director of Development with Left of Center Art Gallery and the Public Art Cultural Specialist for the Clark County Public Art Fund where she wrote the awarded National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Grant, on behalf of Clark County, Nevada, for the Maryland Parkway Public Art Urban Design Plan.
Denise received her Master of Fine Arts in Community Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) where she received the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation Scholarship and Fellowship.
She has received two Las Vegas Mayor’s Urban Design Awards for Public Art. The first award was in 2008 as a design team member for the sculpture Ancestral Gateway and the second award was in 2011 for Flourish. She has completed nine public artworks plus has facilitated 11 community art projects.
She was recently accepted to the Nevada Arts Council’s Artist in Schools +Communities Roster, Education and Community Tracks and was listed as an artist to watch on Creative Capital’s On Our Radar.
Denise’s activist leadership positions includes the Nevada Womenʼs Lobby for 13 years and Stand OUT For Equality, the former advocacy arm of The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada. She founded Equality Days in 2009, the first officially recognized day at the Nevada Legislature for the LGBTQ community. Equality Days, along with the resulting LGBTQ organizing, was a major influene for the passage of Senate Bill 283, Nevada's Domestic Partnership bill. She founded the Nevada LGBTQ Leadership Coalition in 2009 which worked for 2 years to support the Transgender community's successful gender identity and expression legislation during the 2011 Nevada Legislative session.
While temporarily living in Baltimore in 2011-2013, she co-organized the reinstatement of the Baltimore city NOW Chapter, originated the LGBT youth art program, Express Yourself!, while creating the Artist in Residence position at GLCCB, the LGBT Community Center of Baltimore. In addition, she established their LGBT History and Archives Project, which included organizing and protecting 35 years of back issues of GayLife, one of the oldest, continuously published LGBT newspapers in the country.
During Denise’s 18-year corporate career in the insurance and financial services field, she experienced and witnessed the negative impact of discrimination and injustice as an employee and as a manager. This has fueled her quest for equality for all people.
Denise's lifelong passions include art, activism and the exploration of the social fabric of life.