Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Arts & Culture

Since 1986, the Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts & Culture have recognized individuals and organizations that make significant and lasting contributions to the artistic, cultural and creative landscape in the City and County of Denver. 

2013 Awardees

Unique Collaborations - Art Students League of Denver & Denver Public Library
The ArtCart collaboration between the Denver Public Library (DPL) and the Art Students League of Denver (ASLD) provides art experiences to intergenerational participants who may not be able to engage in arts due to limited offerings, finances or geographic accessibility.  The interactive art experiences challenge students of all ages to create their own art, respond to art and the ideas it imparts and help participants understand and appreciate art. ArtCart programming allows attendees to participate, free of charge in a two-hour art workshop at multiple DPL branches. These less formal, more participatory art experiences are taught weekly in each location. Professional artists from ASLD faculty lead courses in specific media such as drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking and photography.

Creative Neighborhood Award - Golden Triangle Museum District / Plein Air Festival
Seven years ago, the Golden Triangle Museum District (GTMD), Registered Neighborhood Organization and Arts District envisioned an annual event that would attract Colorado artists to Denver and the GTMD neighborhood.  The district’s business community embraced the concept, and in 2006, the Denver Plein Air Arts Festival was founded.  Professional and amateur artists of all ages break out their easels, sketchbooks and other materials to experience creating en plain air (in the open air) in the GTMD. Since then, civic and neighborhood organizations, businesses and private property owners around Denver and beyond have offered their locations to serve as special “paint out” destinations for the festival’s participants. As a result, the Denver Plein Air Arts Festival became known as the largest urban plein air event in the country. From August through September each year, the public can watch artists in action on any given day throughout the city.  Last year, the Denver Plein Air Festival expanded from solely Denver to statewide!  Thus, in 2013, it officially became the Colorado Plein Air Arts Festival.

Youth Arts Award – Café Cultura
Café Cultura is an award-winning arts, culture and youth development organization that promotes unity and healing amoing indigenous peoples through creative expression while empowering youth to find their voice, reclaim oral and written traditions and become leaders in their communities.  Café Cultura hosts an open mic night every second Friday at Denver Inner City Parish linking spoken word, visual art, dance and music with community involvement, education and healthy living.  Their Xpress Yourself spoken word workshops continue to be among the most sought after for youth conferences and programs throughout Colorado. View the Café Cultura video.

Arts Innovation Award – Garrett Ammon, Artistic Director, Wonderbound
Wonderbound under the direction of Garrett Ammon, moved to a 1920's post office garage on the North end of Downtown Denver in March of 2013.  In a short amount of time the collaborations and projects led by Garrett have made an astounding impact on the neighborhood and on the Denver community as a whole.  Garrett’s collaborative approach reimagines dance and makes it accessible to all.  From opening up the garage doors during rehearsals and inviting the public into the artistic process to collaborations with musicians, poets and visual artists; Garrett believes that dance is a part of who we are as people and should be incorporated into our everyday lives. View the Garrett Ammon video.

Impact Arts Award – The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival
For the past 13 years, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival has celebrated the arts and culture of Denver’s many diverse Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, and entertains, engages and educates festival guests with the richness of those communities.  The Festival is a showcase of traditional and contemporary performance, visual and culinary arts, all filtered through the lens of building bridges among AAPI populations as well as with the broader public.  Collaboration is emphasized throughout the Festival, and participation from as many ethnic groups as possible has always been a priority.  There are nearly 30 AAPI ethnic groups in the Denver area, and in 2013 over 20 were represented at the Festival. View the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival video.

Global Arts Award – Darla Rae, Film It Productions
Darla Rae and Film It Productions have been contributing to the arts through filmmaking in the Denver community for more than 10 years by creating jobs, working with kids for free, producing and directing.  In a medical documentary she raised awareness before the US Congress about children with a rare brain malformation.  Her most recent project, “Spirit of Love,” a film about deaf and hard of hearing kids at a basketball camp, has been receiving national accolades while bridging the gap between deaf and hearing populations and all ethnicities.  This film was shot in 14 days in Denver and surrounding cities.  The film, cast and crew have received numerous awards and proclamations. View the Darla Rae video.

View the 2012 recipients for the Mayor's Awards for Excellence in Arts & Culture.

2013 Denver Mayor's Awards for Excellence in Arts and Culture - Youth Arts Award: Café Cultura from Denver Arts & Venues on Vimeo.

2013 Denver Mayor's Awards for Excellence in Arts and Culture - Arts Innovation Award: Garrett Ammon, Wonderbound from Denver Arts & Venues on Vimeo.

2013 Denver Mayor's Awards for Excellence in Arts and Culture - Impact Arts Award: The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival from Denver Arts & Venues on Vimeo.

2013 Denver Mayor's Awards for Excellence in Arts and Culture - Global Arts Award: Darla Rae and Film It Productions from Denver Arts & Venues on Vimeo.