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Posted: April 01, 2014

CBCA: Impact Award finalists

Winner: AspenPointe

Gigi Sukin

Creative ideas, strategies, designs, communication tactics or community partnerships can benefits both businesses and consumers. The Impact Award highlights innovative uses of the arts to propel business forward and engage employees. Watch a video about the Impact Award winner and finalists.

Arts Brookfield

Since 1992, Arts Brookfield has made a concerted effort to “set art free,” offering free cultural experiences, animating public spaces, and ultimately attempting to improve communities internationally. “We’re making the world our stage and giving emerging, established and amateur artists worldwide the chance to have their art shared internationally with millions of people,” said Debra Simon, vice president of arts and events at Brookfield Properties.

Exhibitions are produced quarterly in three public areas with rotating outdoor sculpture programs. In salute of its 25th anniversary, Arts Brookfield recently launched Art Set Free, a global exhibit that will establish the world’s largest collection of public art. For the initiative, artists will capture their works in photos, videos or audio clips to be digitally distributed on social media with the hashtag #ArtSetFree. Arts Brookfield will subsequently curate pieces for display in one of its premier international office properties and on Artsbrookfield25.com.

This spring: Arts Brookfield’s latest Denver property, 1801 California, will adopt a similar schedule for public art showcases.  Colorado has, “an incredibly robust community with a great depth of artists that work in many different disciplines,” Simon said.

AspenPointe

“For most of our history as humans, one of the ways we have defined cultures is through their art as it is a visual and tangible way to share an experience that otherwise may not be accessible,” said Communications Manager Gino Mattorano.

Colorado Springs-based AspenPointe blends and bleeds the arts, business and mental health care simultaneously in an effort to aid soldiers, veterans and clients. For the past five years, the nonprofit’s Military Creative Expressions program, the Bemis School of Art and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center have teamed up to provide an eight-week Military Artistic Healing program for ill and injured military personnel and veterans. “ Several of the people who come through our Creative Expressions programs are struggling with something — to the point that they may not be able to hold down a job, or go to school, or interact with their families in a positive way. If we can help these people feel better so that they are able to find work,  not take public entitlements, not go to the ER every time they are in crisis, ultimately we are creating what we call a Social Return on Investment (SROI),” said Mattorano.

The program has served more than 100 wounded soldiers returning from recent wars with diagnoses of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. AspenPointe is engaged with local arts organizations including: COPPeR, Bee Vradenburg Foundation, Imagination Celebration and national organizations such as Americans for the Arts.

“We feel that our contribution is somewhat different in that we are able to offer individuals the supplies, time and instruction to explore their talent — people who may not have had that opportunity otherwise,” Mattorano said. “If art becomes an elitist opportunity, then we will lose the storytelling and impact of so many incredible artists.”            

Kevin Taylor Restaurant Group

Beckoning patrons of the arts — both culinary and cultural — into the Mile High City’s various venues are Kevin Taylor Restaurant Group’s gourmet gathering spaces.  While each restaurant’s cuisine offers diners a distinct experience, the self-taught chef and Denver native, Kevin Taylor’s firm faith in fresh ingredients and beautiful presentation is carried through to each of his now six spots scattered throughout the city. The group attempts to impact the local creative economy through its partnerships with leading visual and performance arts facilities, providing patrons with high-quality dining experiences that are conveniently located within cultural facilities such as the Denver Art Museum, Opera Colorado and Colorado Ballet.

“Since opening Palettes in the Denver Art Museum 18 years ago, and through every restaurant since, we’ve had the opportunity to work with Denver’s most creative and forward-thinking individuals — from artists, to board members, to directors in the art community,” Taylor said. “It’s been a mutually beneficial partnership … allowing us all to continue to improve our products and services, and helping to make Denver’s arts community one that rivals any in the nation.”

Gigi Sukin is an Associate Editor at ColoradoBiz. She can be reached at gsukin@cobizmag.com.

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