Image by Amanda Tipton Photography

More than 700 corporate, cultural and civic leaders celebrated 12 honorees at the 2020 Colorado Business Committee for the Arts’ (CBCA) Business for the Arts Awards, the only statewide event honoring companies and individuals for their exemplary engagement with the arts.

All honorees were celebrated at the annual Business for the Arts Awards Luncheon, presented by EY and PNC Bank, on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 in the Seawell Grand Ballroom at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.  Founded in 1985, CBCA has been producing this inspiring, arts-infused event for over 30 years, featuring a variety of home-grown entertainers and Colorado artists.

Entertainment at this year’s event included: Lost Walks, a Denver rock band that works with wolf advocacy groups and features musicians, dancers and visual elements. Students from Denver School of the Arts’ Theatre Department performed an excerpt from 9 to 5: The Musical. The Japanese Arts Network’s performance combined traditional and modern music, including Taiko drum, clarinet, vocals and rap.  J & J Hip Hop Dance & Performing Arts Company from Colorado Springs closed the event with a high energy performance with nearly two dozen youth dancers.  Guests of the VIP Reception were entertained by Zoe Berman, a Denver singer-songwriter.  Luncheon attendees were also greeted by CHEER Colorado and dancers from Frequent Flyers™ Aerial Dance during the networking reception.  Tables were decorated with one-of-a-kind ceramic artworks created by Downtown Aurora Visual Arts.

“We are thrilled to recognize these outstanding individuals and business honorees representing both small and large organizations from around the state, such as Boulder, Carbondale and Montrose, for their innovative and impactful business and arts partnerships. Their stories inspire and demonstrate how art is smart for business and advance our state economy, as well as strengthen the cultural vitality and quality of life in Colorado,” said Chris Ross, Chair of CBCA’s Board of Directors, and Vice President, Commercial Banking Relationship Manager at U.S. Bank.

2020 Business for the Arts Awards Honorees

The Business for the Arts Awards Honorees are exemplary organizations that have gone above and beyond to support the arts and creative industries.

  • America’s Mattress of Western Colorado, located in Montrose, leverages their financial, business and human resources to help Weehawken Creative Arts produce performances.
  • Anythink Libraries, serving Adams County, inspires and facilitates creativity through their open art studio space, interactive public art and welcoming cultural programming.
  • Centura Health’s Denver Metro Group (seven hospitals) is fostering a holistic healing environment through live therapeutic music and visual arts to address whole person care.
  • Downtown Denver Business Improvement District is reimaging the urban landscape as a site for engaging art installations by creatively activating alleyways and forgotten spaces in downtown Denver.
  • Mountain Sun Pubs and Breweries have been infused with art for 26 years, from live music and ever-changing creative chalk drawings to activating an empty storefront window with unique rotating installations.
  • Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) partnered with Carbondale Arts to create the Rio Grande ARTway, a creative placemaking project that activates a portion of an outdoor trail with cultural and historic arts installations.
  • Youth on Record is advancing economic opportunities and careers in the creative industries, all while advancing youth success through the power of music and art.
  • Zeppelin Development has been incorporating creativity into their projects for 40 years, including artist-in-residence programs, innovative retail models and providing spaces for arts and business to interact.
PNC Bank Cultural Leadership Award

The PNC Bank Cultural Leadership Award recognizes an outstanding graduate of CBCA’s Leadership Arts program who has made an impact on arts and culture in Colorado.

  • Kendall Smith (Leadership Arts Class of 2014), Partnerships and Events Manager for Colorado Public Radio, is an arts advocate and community leader in the creative sector, making his mark on the Underground Music Showcase and Englewood Block Party, to name a few.
Volunteer Attorney of the Year

The Volunteer Attorney of the Year recognizes an outstanding attorney who has provided pro bono legal services to Colorado creatives and advanced CBCA’s Colorado Attorneys for the Arts (CAFTA) program.

  • Zach Warkentin, Principal at Warkentin, LLC, supports Colorado’s cultural community by offering pro bono legal assistance and educational workshops for artists, as well as being a professional musician and creative himself.
EY Next Wave Leadership Award

The EY Next Wave Leadership Award honors rising professionals who are leading the future of our cultural community.

  • Rob Applegate, Research and Analysis Associate Director at IHS Markit, brings strategic thinking and civic commitment to his volunteer leadership roles at Think 360 Arts and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s YP Committee.
John Madden, Jr. Leadership Award

Named for CBCA’s founding chairman, the John Madden, Jr. Leadership Award recognizes a lifetime of extraordinary leadership and a legacy of support for the arts.

  • donnie l. betts (intentionally lowercase), is a producer, filmmaker, playwright, actor and activist who has been sharing stories of marginalized communities in Colorado for 40 years.

Honorees received a custom bronze sculpture for their award by Boulder artist, Brian Grossman. The 2020 Business for the Arts Awards Honorees, PNC Cultural Leadership Award Honoree, EY Next Wave Leadership Award Honoree and the John Madden, Jr. Leadership Award Honoree were selected by an independent panel of arts, business and community leaders. The Volunteer Attorney of the Year Award was selected by the CAFTA Advisory Committee.

CBCA thanks our generous sponsors who make this event possible. Presenting Sponsors are EY and PNC Bank. HealthONE is the Awards Artwork Underwriter; Entertainment Underwriter is Bellco Credit Union; and the Networking Reception Underwriters are East West Partners and Xcel Energy. Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck is a Contributing Sponsor and the Centerpieces Underwriter is RBC Wealth Management. In-kind and media partners are CBS4, ColoradoBiz, Moxtopia, MFG Studios and The Publishing House.