Colorado companies are investing in the arts

CBCA honorees support creative industries beyond financial contributions, philanthropy

When business collaborates with art, the impact can be explosive.

For 35 years, Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA) has advanced Colorado’s creative economy by connecting Colorado business and the arts. Over the years, that relationship has evolved in unexpected ways.

“When CBCA was first formed, it was still of the mindset that corporations and local businesses should be investing their philanthropic dollars in the arts,” CBCA Program Director Meredith Badler says. Now, “there’s a much bigger story about arts integration and civic engagement and advocacy.”

To honor these evolving collaborations, CBCA selected 12 honorees to be celebrated at the annual Business for the Arts Awards on March 10, representing the burgeoning and mutually beneficial intersection of arts and business.

The arts impact

America’s Mattress of Western Colorado, a Montrose family-owned company, was honored for its unique contributions to the Weehawken Creative Arts (WCA) in Ouray and Montrose counties. Aside from financial support, the company donates the use of its trucks and delivery crews to move production sets for events throughout the year.

“Serving a thriving creative arts organization like WCA helps our community to grow, prosper and flourish in myriad ways,” America’s Mattress owner Ashley Unverferth says. “And we know that patrons who support the arts tend to shop locally, which benefits our company as well.”

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) found that connecting with local artists helped engage and inspire its community. RFTA partnered with Carbondale Arts and more than 250 locals, artists, designers, architects and businesses to build the Rio Grande ARTway.

“The success of the project has inspired our sense of community and how we can make a positive difference in people’s lives while accomplishing our vision,” says Brett Meredith, RFTA trails and corridor manager.

Honoree Centura Health was able to better meet the needs of its patients in seven hospitals — and employ local musicians — through its Healing Arts program.

“Having a vibrant arts and cultural community attracts more businesses to the area (and) attracts and retains a talented and skilled workforce,” Badler says. “They want to live and work and play in a community that has arts and cultural opportunities.”

2020 Business for the Arts Awards Honorees

EY Next Wave Leadership Award

PNC Bank Cultural Leadership Award

Volunteer Attorney of the Year Award

John Madden, Jr. Leadership Award