Business sector recognized for contribution to arts at Business and Arts Lunch

By Jen Mulson Published: October 6, 2017 0

A lively crowd packed The Antlers, A Wyndham Hotel on Friday to recognize arts supporters in Colorado Springs' business sector.

Amid more than half a dozen performances by the Taiko Society, musicians Ryan Flores and Audrey Bussanich and Millibo Art Theatre's circus performer Dave Hale, the 10th annual Business and Arts Lunch feted winners in three categories: SunWater Spa for creative workspace, Cripple Creek Ace Hardware for philanthropy and Kevin Kratt as business leader.

The community is invited to nominate candidates in each category every July. Winners are selected by a volunteer jury from the arts, business and philanthropic sectors. The awards are sponsored by the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region and the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC.

The awards coincide with Arts Month, a nationwide event started by Americans for the Arts in 1993. COPPeR started the initiative in Colorado Springs in 2014 and has helped populate each October since with arts and cultural opportunities.

"It's an opportunity to think about the economic impact of the arts and culture," said ceremony co-host Andy Vick, executive director of COPPeR. The industry generates about $153 million in annual economic activity in the Pikes Peak region.

The creative workspace award honors a professional space that beams with imagination through its use of design or art collections that highlight works by local artists.

SunWater Spa fits the bill with its 6,000-square-foot complex reflecting Manitou Springs' historical character and offering year-round programs, water therapies, yoga, tai chi, retreats and more.

"The spa is environmentally friendly, with roof-mounted solar panels to help heat water, radiant floor heating and a circular stairwell that functions as a chimney," announced a short video during the awards ceremony. "Local artwork is exhibited, and regular creative events include wellness retreats, The Story Project, kirtans and appearances by Colorado musicians."

The philanthropy award recognizes outstanding business citizenship through financial contributions and in-kind support to the arts and culture.

Cripple Creek Ace Hardware has been a staunch ally of Cripple Creek's Thin Air Theatre Company and its home, The Butte Theater, for more than a decade. The store offers in-kind contributions of production materials, which helps increase the production value of Thin Air shows.

"This locally owned business has developed a long-term, meaningful and multi-faceted relationship with a neighboring arts organization," noted a video.

The award for business leader goes to someone whose leadership in the arts extends beyond financial giving and can include board service, advocacy or individual creativity.

As president and founder of Kratt Commercial Properties, Kratt founded a scholarship program for University of Colorado at Colorado Springs sculpture students during the development of University Village Colorado on North Nevada Avenue. Two students are selected each academic year to have their works installed along North Nevada Avenue.

"Six years later, this program has created a vibrant art walk at University Village," stated a video. "It is a critical cultural connection to the growing UCCS campus across North Nevada, including the new Ent Center for the Arts, which Kratt has also generously supported. His commitment to the arts and UCCS is fueling the economic and cultural health of the North Nevada corridor."

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