Michael Hancock Announces Mayor's Arts and Culture Award Winners

CRUSH is one of the recipients of the Mayor's Awards for Excellence in Arts and Culture.
CRUSH is one of the recipients of the Mayor's Awards for Excellence in Arts and Culture. Jacqueline Collins
Mayor Michael Hancock honored the recipients of the 2017 Mayor's Awards for Excellence in Arts and Culture at a ceremony at the McNichols Building on Monday, November 27. "Denver is full of talented artists and performers enhancing our daily experiences and neighborhoods with arts and culture in galleries, museums, theaters and concert halls across the city,” the mayor said in a statement announcing the winners.

“These award recipients exemplify Denver’s vibrant and diverse cultural and artistic scene," he continued. "Through the work of these dedicated and inspiring individuals and groups, the arts have become more accessible, visible, interactive and integrated into the lives of our residents and visitors.”

In the mix are the Denver Public Schools' Shakespeare Festival, the Mexican Cultural Center, the Clyfford Still Museum, the street art festival CRUSH, arts activist Irene Vilar, and Floyd Ciruli, who was instrumental in creating the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.

Here are the winners, and what the mayor's office had to say about each of the recipients:

Arts & Culture Youth Award
Denver Public Schools – Shakespeare Festival

Going on its 34th year, the Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival is the oldest and largest student Shakespeare festival in the country and includes thousands of students and teachers from schools across the region. Donning theatrical costumes, more than 5,000 DPS students, grades K-12, from more than 85 schools attend the DPS Shakespeare Festival. This day-long festival is held in downtown Denver and provides the opportunity for students to perform scenes and sonnets from the works of William Shakespeare as well as demonstrate the dance and vocal and instrumental music of Shakespeare’s time.

Arts & Culture Impact Award
Mexican Cultural Center

The Mexican Cultural Center was established in 1992. Evolving over the last 25 years, the MCC has developed a variety of cultural and educational programs designed to increase awareness and highlight the importance of Mexican culture in the United States, particularly in Colorado. The MCC serves to promote and enhance the perception of Mexican culture and people through travel, cuisine, art, music, handcrafts, cultural events and education. The MCC focuses on being one of Colorado’s major transformational agents through educational experiences and programming based on inclusiveness, diversity and collaboration.

Arts & Culture Global Award
Clyfford Still Museum

The Clyfford Still Museum brings the world to Denver, and Denver to the world. In September 2016, nine paintings from the Museum’s collection traveled to the Royal Academy of Arts in London for a seminal exhibition on Abstract Expressionism. The exhibition, which was the first comprehensive survey of the movement to be mounted in Europe in more than 50 years, then traveled to the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain. Seen by nearly 675,000 people it was hailed by the international press as “The Show of the Year” (Sunday Times, London), and Clyfford Still “...the surprise hero of the exhibition.”

Arts & Culture Innovation Award

CRUSH is Colorado’s largest independent graffiti and street art project and event. Founded by Denver graffiti artist Robin Munro, CRUSH has been taking over the streets of the RiNo neighborhood since 2010. With a passion for graffiti and street art, as well as his community, Munro aimed to create an event that showcases the amazing artistic talents he saw not only in Denver, but also across the world. Originally centered around the EXDO Event Center, after three years, the event was relocated to the long alley between 26th and 27th streets and Larimer and Walnut streets, now dubbed “Art Alley.”

IMAGINE 2020 Award
Irene Vilar

For more than a decade, Irene Vilar has demonstrated how the arts can be an effective and impactful vehicle for raising social awareness and inspiring action at a local, national and international level. Irene founded Americas for Conservation+Arts to provide a forum for artists, conservation activists and educators to unite for positive, impactful efforts within the community. Since 2013, Irene has been leading the Americas Latino Eco Festival, bringing together top Latino environmental activists, attorneys, artists, writers, musicians, policy advocates, filmmakers and others to discuss the most pressing environmental issues, celebrate the achievements of people in the community, and engage the next generation in issues of environmental justice around the globe.

Leadership in the Arts Award
Floyd Ciruli

Floyd Ciruli has worked with the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District board and staff, area mayors, county commissioners, business organizations, Colorado legislators, the changing media, editorial boards, foundation leaders and many of the beneficiary organizations in SCFD. His work has been directed consistently to maintaining and building a coalition of support during the SCFD’s 30-year existence, not just during campaign times. Floyd was a constant presence thinking and preparing for the 2016 reauthorization, guiding volunteer leadership through information helpful in understanding the changing market.

IMAGINE 2020 District Challenge Award
"Community Channels" Art Mural, Stacie Gilmore, District 11

On November 10 and 11, Denver City Council member Stacie Gilmore, community members and Montbello High School students worked with artist Pat Milbery to create a mural in the canal at 51st Avenue and Crown Boulevard.
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris