At the thirtieth annual Colorado Business Committee for the Arts awards luncheon — yet another sold-out event, which filled the Seawell Ballroom with over 700 arts enthusiasts on March 15 — the CBCA honored arts organizations, companies and individuals. The group also hosted an array of acts that showed just how wide-ranging this state's cultural scene can be: At how many business luncheons can you have your photo taken with a polar bear or a viking?
Or Mayor Michael Hancock, for that matter. In kicking off the festivities, Hancock (sporting some arty new facial hair) noted that when businesses are thinking of relocating to Denver, they want to know about this city's sunshine, safety and schools, but "they also want to talk about our vibrant arts and culture scene." To help keep that culture vibrant, he urged the audience to contact this state's representatives in Washington, D.C., to let them know that "we absolutely support the NEA," now under threat from the Trump administration.
Between award presentations, guests were entertained by performers in the Broadway touring production of An American in Paris (at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts through March 19), members of the Denver Young Artists Orchestra, and a showstopper of an act from Buntport Theater Company, among others.
But the real stars were the winners of the 2017 Business for the Arts Awards. And they are (descriptions from the CBCA):
Create Award (acknowledges an outstanding, for-profit creative business that has made a significant impact on Colorado’s creative economy).
TRG Arts: Based in Colorado Springs, TRG Arts is an international management consulting firm that has helped numerous arts and culture institutions improve their financial health, grow audiences, train leaders, and increase their positive impact.
Finalists: Odell Brewing Company, Songbird Cellars
EY Next Wave Leadership Award (honors rising professionals who are leading the future of our cultural community).
Jackson Stevens: As an active community volunteer, leader and musician, Jackson Stevens is an ambassador for the arts. He is making the arts more accessible and inviting for young professionals, particularly in his leadership role at Colorado Symphony’s Remix.
Finalist: Kayvan S. T. Khalatbari
Impact Award (highlights the innovative use of the arts to propel business success, programs that engage employees with creativity and other community activities that support arts and business partnerships).
Sage Hospitality: Dedicated to curating original artworks in all their hotels, including over thirty hotels in Colorado, Sage Hospitality provides opportunities for artists to thrive. This commitment has a positive impact on hotel guests, employees and local artists.
Finalists: Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, New Belgium Brewing
Philanthropy Award (honors exemplary corporate citizenship and generosity to arts and cultural projects and organizations).
Noble Energy: Noble Energy has several partnerships with cultural organizations in Colorado. Noble Energy worked with Denver Center for the Performing Arts to bring theater professionals and engineers together for an innovative arts integration initiative in schools.
Finalists: Denver Toyota Dealers Association, Elevations Credit Union
John Madden, Jr. Leadership Award (recognizes a business sector individual who has made significant contributions to advancing arts and culture in Colorado).
Tim Schultz: A passionate and visionary leader at the Boettcher Foundation for over twenty years, Tim Schultz has contributed to Colorado’s Creative Districts program and Space to Create Colorado. Tim champions the arts as a vehicle for economic and community vitality statewide.
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Finalists: Merry Logan, Doug Tueller
CBCA executive director Christin Crampton Day, who's been on the job for barely three weeks (she replaced longtime director Deborah Jordy, now head of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District), offered some parting thoughts. “The social and financial impact of the arts on our region is significant. Today, we acknowledge businesses and individuals who work to support this thriving sector of the Colorado economy,” she said. “The winners and finalists demonstrate a strong commitment to philanthropy and service. Their work inspires and supports the arts and cultural community of our state, and we thank them. Our lives, communities and businesses are richer and stronger when they’re integrated with the arts, as shown by these organizations and individuals we honor here today.”
Learn more about the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts at cbca.org.