Connecting the arts and business

From startups to Fortune 100 companies, a growing number of businesses are leveraging creativity to rethink, restructure and reposition their leadership, collaboration, communication and innovation.

To some – such as the companies that make up the 2014 list of the 27th Annual Business for the Arts Awards finalists – the intersection is clear.

“We continue to seek out interesting and vibrant companies,“ says Deborah Jordy, executive director of the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts. Established in 1985 by local business leaders, the organization is affiliated with Americans for the Arts, a national nonprofit that attempts to advance creative and cultural industries. Today, more than 100 metro area businesses and individuals representing about 70,000 employees are members of CBCA.

Each year, the program’s finalists and winners are assessed on:

•      Quality and extent of arts partnerships and engagement;

•      Innovation and creativity involved;

•      Impact: company and employees, cultural organizations and community vitality;

•      Level and type of support relative
to size and capacity.


“Within that criteria, we are able to invite a real mix of business and arts sectors,” Jordy says.

“CBCA does an amazing job pointing out all the places art and business intersect and why that matters,” says Meghan Throckmorton, owner of crafty Sante Fe neighborhood boutique Rakun, up for this year’s Create Award. “CBCA recognizing this burgeoning sector of the economy helps build awareness and opportunities.”

Beyond Denver, “Arts are embedded in smaller communities to enhance social impact and creative place-making, It’s not just a company making craft beer,” Jordy adds, referencing 2014 finalist Odell Brewing Co. “These are community leaders, social hubs, workplaces built for cool, creative Coloradans.”



Create Award

Hope Tank

Noyes Art Design


Philanthropy Award

Arrow Electronics

Bellco Credit Union

Odell Brewing Co.

Impact Award

Arts Brookfield


Kevin Taylor
Restaurant Group

Workspace Award

Gates Family Foundation

GroundFloor Media

McGeady Sisneros

John Madden Jr.,
Leadership Award

Duke Hartman

J. Landis Martin

Robert & Judi Newman

Winners will be announced at the 27th Annual Business for the Arts Awards Luncheon, March 5 at the Seawell Ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.


art biz by the numbers


$1.76 billion

Total economic activity in metro Denver arts & culture (2012 study)


14.6 million

Number of people who attended cultural events in the metro area in 2011


$527 million

Economic impact thanks to arts, cultural and scientific organizations in Denver Metro area


biz buzz

“Denver’s collective investments and support in creative arts goes well beyond the performance arts within our community. Today, Denver has more than 3,600 creative enterprises, employing more than 20,000 creative workers, including 180 film-related businesses, 160 performance venues, 120 galleries and six distinct arts and creative districts.


“To put it simply, the creative arts sectors help fuel the ingenuity that Denver is becoming so well known for on the national and international stage. Denver is dotted with businesses and developments where creativity and innovation has resulted in national market success and recognition. From our artistic, chef-driven restaurants to architecture and design, award-winning housing and commercial developments, Denver’s daily commercial life is enriched. This sector results in a vibrancy and energy in the economy, which leads to innovation in our businesses and new products, awareness and understanding to look beyond the easily identified approach, and encourages the mixing of function and beauty.


“The vision – and the market economy proves this approach works – is to increase our emphasis aon lifestyle, arts, culture and creative entrepreneurism and business growth as well as cultivate and keep creative talent right here in the Mile High City. “

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock