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MasterMinds are changing the artistic landscape of Denver -- including new winners for 2011

Denver is full of aesthetic entrepreneurs, artists and organizations that are changing the landscape of this city.

Some of their efforts are so underground, though, that they'd have miles to go just to reach the grassroots.

Recognizing that artists need not just creativity but money to help things go, and grow, Westword started the MasterMind Awards program seven years ago. Since then, we've given over $100,00 in grants to artists -- and now we're about to make another round of awards.

For the past month, we've been meeting with members of the six previous classes of MasterMinds, talking about all the exciting projects in this city and debating which efforts most deserved the added boost of a $2,000 prize. And after conversations as invigorating as much of the art we were discussing, we picked our five winners.

I contacted our 2011 class of MasterMinds on Friday, and once again, I felt like Ed McMahon with that big check -- only alive. "This will let us go to nationals!," said one winner.

You'll be able to meet the winners in print and online tomorrow, when our next issue hits the streets. You can also meet them in person at Artopia, our annual arts festival, which will fill five venues on Broadway Saturday, February 19. The MasterMind Awards ceremony will start at 8 p.m. that night at the Living Room.

But you'll have many more opportunities to get to know the MasterMinds -- not just at their own venues, but on our Show and Tell blog, where we'll be featuring their work and also launching our countdown of 100 Colorado Creatives.

In the meantime, here's the roster of previous MasterMind winners:

2010 Fallene Wells Jennie Dorris Jolt Eric Matelski Laura Goldhamer

2009 Brian Freeland/LIDA Project/Countdown to Zero Viviane LeCourtois Ravi Zupa The Denver Voice Vicky Nolan

2008 Creative Music Works/Andrew Starr RINO/Jill Hadley Hooper & Tracy Weil Jason Bosch/ArgusFest Art from Ashes/Cathleen O'Neill Mona Lucero

2007 Jessica Robblee Jimmy Sellars Tony Shawcross/deproduction, denver open media Vox Feminista The Fabric Lab/Josh and Tran Wills

2006 Dragon Daud, aka Dave Denney Katie Taft Deb Henriksen Café Nuba/Ashara Ekundayo Johnny Morehouse

2005 Lauri Lynnxe Murphy Emerging Filmmakers Project @ Bug Theater Brandi Shigley Denver Zine Library Buntport Theater

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