Arts and Culture

2012 Mayor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts announced

Mayor Michael Hancock, Arts & Venues Denver and the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs just announced the 2012 recipients of the Mayor's Award for Excellence in the Arts: Denver's Art District on Santa Fe, Denver Ballet Guild and Emmanuel Gallery.

The awards will be presented at a free, public celebration on Thursday, November 15 at the Studio Loft in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, with performances by Colorado Children's Chorale, an excerpt from Ballet Nouveau and Paper Bird's "Carry On," and a theatrical performance from Su Teatro.

See also: - Phil Bender among the winners of the Mayor's Award for Excellence - Flobots perform song from new album at Mayor's Awards

The annual Mayors Awards for Excellence in the Arts have been presented since 1986, but this year there was a new twist. The awards were divided into three specific categories, with nominations accepted in youth arts, entrepreneurial arts and impact arts.

Here's how the 2012 Awards break down:

Youth Arts Award Denver Ballet Guild

This award honors an individual under 18 that has made a significant difference and/or impact in the community through the arts or an organization that has significantly impacted the lives of youth in the City and County of Denver through the arts. The Denver Ballet Guild, founded in 1979, is managed by a staff of 600 volunteers, all committed to stimulating an interest in ballet and dance, with several programs specifically dedicated to embracing the youth of our community. The Guild hosts several annual events including, Showcase of Dance, In School Programs, Young Dancers Competition, Community Enrichment and Les Cygnettes and Les Demoiselles, that affect thousands of Denver students. Each offers dance exposure, competition, programming and grants and scholarships, in a safe and collaborative environment. For more information, visit

Entrepreneurial Arts Award Denver's Art District on Santa Fe

This award honors an individual or organization that is breaking new ground in the arts and whose contribution to innovation in the arts has been significant in 2012.

Denver's Art District on Santa Fe was founded in 2003 by 12 pioneering galleries, a museum and a theatre to develop a sense of community, support arts education, and raise awareness of Santa Fe Drive as a unique cultural area. Today, the Art District includes over 70 creative industry members, the largest concentration of creative space in Colorado, and is nationally recognized and studied as a leading creative district.

The Art District has been known for its groundbreaking work throughout the years, and 2011-2012 was no exception. Last year the Art District was one of two creative districts designated by the State of Colorado as a Certified Creative District, it created a "sister district" relationship with Downtown Salida, Colorado, installed 230 energy-efficient and place-making blue LED lights in its decorative street lamps, received its first B-Cycle bike-share station, and hosted over 100,000 local and out-of-town visitors during its nationally-known First Friday Art Walk in its 40 art galleries and studios, and much more. For more information visit

Impact Arts Award Emmanuel Gallery This award acknowledges an individual or organization that has made a significant and lasting impact in the City and County of Denver. This category requires that the nominee have at least 10 years history in the arts in the City and County of Denver.

Emmanuel Gallery, located in the historic 1876 Episcopalian Chapel on the downtown Auraria campus, is one of the oldest non-profit art spaces in Denver, featuring over 3,000 artists with over 400 exhibitions since 1976. The Gallery is supported by the Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver and the University of Colorado Denver on Auraria Campus. The Gallery hosts student and faculty shows for all three colleges, as well as innovative non-campus based exhibitions and programs featuring local, national and international artists and collections.

Emmanuel Gallery is committed to enhancing the understanding of the visual arts and features art exhibits, lectures and related activities that highlight and encourage critical thinking and creative research. Many graduating students have established local art cooperatives, worked in galleries, museums or in the public art sectors, or become consultants, exhibition designers, curators and have served on local art panels and boards. Some of the first graduates from Metropolitan State University of Denver started Pirate, A Contemporary Art Oasis under the leadership of Phil Bender, a 2011 Mayor's Award recipient, who recently had a retrospective at The Lab last year and is one of the most important Denver artists working now. Ken Peterson, former student and former director of Emmanuel Gallery began Edge Gallery; founders of CORE Art Space, as well as Ironton have also had exhibitions as students at Emmanuel Gallery. For more information, visit

Watch Show and Tell for interviews with the winners.

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