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CBCA Honors 12 for Arts Support

2018's Business for the Arts Awards program features new creative contributions Colorado-wide


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Business is anything but usual for the 12 private companies, nonprofits and individuals named for Colorado Business Committee for the Arts honorees in 2018.

"CBCA has been recognizing companies and individuals for their support of the arts for 30 years," says Christin Crampton Day, CBCA's executive director. "For 2018, we revised the format of the Business for the Arts Awards to be more inclusive of a wide range of innovative arts and business partnerships out there. In addition, CBCA programming is expanding, so we want to make sure we're honoring individuals contributing to our growing statewide impact."

This year's honorees, unveiled in mid-December, include Downtown Artery, a Fort Collins creative hub recognized for supporting a community of creators with its performance venue, gallery space, classrooms, studios and cafe. 

"When you look at arts and culture in rural areas, a driving force for expansion is quality of education and experience for kids," says Xcel Energy Community Relations Director Hollie Velasquez Horavth. "Arts and culture are economic drivers, responsible for tourism, tax revenue and quality of life."

Xcel Energy, which maintains a presence in 120 Colorado cities, boosts outreach and access to arts and cultural organizations statewide through philanthropy and an extensive employee volunteer program, primarily focusing on youth. In the last decade, Xcel has awarded more than $1.7 million to program funding for arts and cultural organizations and projects. 

"If you look at the very basic thing of what we do as a company, we're injecting a bright light and warmth into communities," Horvath says. "We have inherent responsibility to support the communities we live and work in."

How does the support manifest itself?

"When we look at partnerships with our foundation, it's holistic," Horvath says. "It's not just giving a check every year and saying good luck."

Examples of organizations Xcel partners with include Denver's Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Alamosa Live Music Association, Dairy Arts Center in Boulder County and more.

"Art is an integral part of any community," says Jim Johnston, senior marketing manager for Bellco, another of the 12 honorees. The credit union, which surpasses $4 billion in assets last year, sponsors the Denver Art Museum's Free for Kids program, resulting in a 51 percent spike in youth visits year-over-year. 

Meanwhile, Gensler, the international architecture and design firm headquartered in San Francisco, was nominated by Access Gallery, a Santa Fe Art District nonprofit, after more than a decade of steadfast involvement, crafting creative opportunities for people with disabilities.

"To us, celebrating art and culture ... we do it because it's something we care about pretty passionately," says Bryant Palmer, chief storyteller at Stanley Marketplace. "But we also know that celebrating art and culture improves business, helps establish Stanley as the community hub we want it to be."

New for 2018: The Volunteer Attorney of the Year, recognizing a member of the local legal community for offering pro bono legal services to Colorado creatives. The inaugural honoree is Caroline R. Kert with the Law Offices of Daniel T. Goodwin

The EY Next Wave Leadership Award honored Kate Perdoni, the producer of Arts District, Rocky Mountain PBS, as a young professional building up the creative economy in Colorado Springs. 

CBCA's annual awards luncheon will commemorate honorees March 13 at the Denver Center for Performing Arts, where more than 700 corporate, cultural and civic leaders are expect. Local rock band iZCALLi will kick off the programming with visual and performance art filling the afternoon.


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Gigi Sukin

Gigi Sukin is digital editor at ColoradoBiz. She can be reached at gsukin@cobizmag.com.

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