About áyA Con

áyA Con is a comic and arts festival celebrating nerd culture and cultural heritage. Held at the historic McNichols Civic Center Building in the heart of Denver, Colorado.  This year the dates will be from October 4th through October 6th with an educators day on the 4th. All are welcome to join us in a full weekend of connection, art and Indigeneity hosted by North American Indigenous peoples!

Our event focuses on sharing perspectives, celebrating differences and connecting through a shared love for art and nerd culture! We cultivate relationships and community building through opportunity and place holding. Our festival highlights comics and storytelling, illustration, traditional arts, fashion, performance and more!

About our name and logo

The word áyA is a Lakota word meaning to change to become. Our logo was designed by our co-founder/director Kristina Maldonado Bad Hand and is a crow flying into a sun composed of people and graphics presenting various forms of art supplies and hobbies-like comic books and video games. Why a crow? Crows and Ravens are among the few birds that fly through a storm instead of away from it, they are a symbol of resilience, innovation, creativity, intelligence, and loyalty. The crow flying into the sun is to represent flying out of the storm into a brighter future. 

Meet Our Team


Kristina Maldonado Bad Hand

Kristina - Kristina Maldonado Bad Hand is a Sicangu Lakota and Cherokee artist that hails from Taos, New Mexico. Her passion for community and social justice has led her to speak on matters of equality and cultural representation in pop culture. She is a graphic designer, illustrator, comic creator, and former co-chair of the Denver American Indian Commission.

She has over 10 years of experience in after-school and summer programs. Most notably for her work with Pop Culture Classroom in their comic-based literacy curriculum; as a community and OBH liaison with the Jeffco Indian Education Program, and as a Think 360 Artist for her SEL lessons through design and pop culture. She values building connections and maintaining relationships and has strong ties to the Native community of Denver. She is the co-founder and director of áyA Con, and handles most of our community outreach and programming.

Kristina can be reached at:

Web: www.badhandillustrations.art

Instagram:  @napesica

Rafael Maldonado Bad Hand

Rafael- Rafael Maldonado Bad Hand is the artist, writer and creator of the independent comic, “Pilla”, the story of a young girl searching for her father in a post-apocalyptic world where humans are on the bottom of the food chain.

In 2021 he was the recipient of the Imagine 2020 arts award, presented at the proclamation reading of Indigenous Peoples Day for the city of Denver.

Rafael is also a former commissioner of the Denver American Indian Commission and has taken on a new independent endeavor with like minded Indigenous comic creators under the name of Rezilient Press. In 2024 he will be releasing his season finale to Pilla along with his new 90s inspired Indigenous superhero book. Rafael is the co-founder of áyA Con and handles most of the paperwork and artist relations.

Rafael can be reached at:

Web: www.RMBH.art

Instagram: @rmbh_art

Bluesky: @RMBH-Art

© 2024 áYA Con      Contact Us: ayacondenver@gmail.com