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Mayor Hancock and Denver Arts & Venues announce Awards for Excellence in Arts & Culture

DENVER - In the spirit of IMAGINE 2020 -- Denver’s cultural plan -- Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver Arts & Venues and the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs are pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Arts & Culture.

Presented annually since 1986, the Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Arts & Culture recognize individuals and organizations that make significant and lasting contributions to the arts in the City and County of Denver.

"It's an honor to acknowledge and recognize those who contribute to the artistic and cultural landscape of our great city," Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. "The arts play an important role in our communities, neighborhoods and everyday lives, and Denver wouldn’t be the vibrant community it is without strong participation and support for the arts."

Five award-winners were honored at a luncheon on where they were presented with artwork created by artists from Access Gallery. Additionally, each award winner received a $1,000 stipend to continue their great work in Denver’s cultural sector.

During the luncheon, Mayor Hancock also announced the winner of the IMAGINE 2020 District Challenge: a competition between City Councilmembers to best infuse arts and culture into their district during Denver Arts Week. 

ARTS & CULTURE YOUTH AWARD WINNER – Art from Ashes

Art from Ashes youth empowerment programs allow marginalized young people to express their creative genius through poetry and spoken word (Phoenix Rising); visual and tactile art (Drawing on Air); and drama and creative play (Casting Shadows). Youth create in a non-judgmental space with caring adults and community artists. The workshops provide a forum through creative expression for youth to recognize and acknowledge previous negative experiences through storytelling. Participants break through the barriers that isolate young people, and experience health and hope rather than expecting further victimization.

ARTS & CULTURE IMPACT AWARD - Flamenco Fantasy Dance Theatre

The Flamenco Fantasy Dance Theatre was created by René Heredia 28 years ago. As the Artistic Director of the Flamenco Fantasy Dance Theatre, as a solo guitarist, and with his Flamenco fusion group, René has produced shows and performed around the world, and has taught hundreds of dance and guitar students. This investment in a truly profound and distinct form of expression has exposed thousands of audience members to an experience they would not otherwise have seen or heard.

ARTS & CULTURE INNOVATION AWARD – Dorothy Tanner

Through her 65-year art career, Dorothy Tanner has taught art to adults and children. Her dedication, with her late husband Mel Tanner (1925-1993) and her current team, brought the ever-evolving Lumonics art form to thousands of people from all ages and backgrounds in several regions of the United States since its inception in 1969. Lumonics consists of original light sculptures, live projection, video, electronics, music and performance, and intends to deeply affect people on physical, emotional and spiritual levels. Through Lumonics, Mrs. Tanner and her associates created an interactive field trip attended by more than 1,000 elementary, high school and graduate students.

ARTS & CULTURE GLOBAL AWARD – El Teatro volARTE – Youth Theatre

In August 2018, El Teatro VolARTE group (part of Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center) took the global stage at the largest arts festival in the world, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe through The American High School Theater Festival. They performed one of Tony Garcia’s first full-length plays about Denver’s Westside, “El Corrido del Barrio.” "El Corrido del Barrio" tells the story of the people of the Auraria neighborhood and their displacement during the pregentrification era of Urban Renewal. Representing Chicanos, The Westside and all of Denver, this theatre experience was life-changing for the youth participants.

IMAGINE 2020 AWARD - Colorado Ballet & Keya Trujillo-Clairmont

Through “Moccasins En Pointe,” Colorado ballet partnered with Keya Trujillo-Clairmont, a Lakota dancer and 2016 Denver March Powwow Princess, to develop and perform an original piece. Through a free performance and reception, “Moccasins En Pointe” combined Native American culture, Fancy Shawl’s garb and footwork, a bit of ballet, and the singing and drumming of the Mandaree Singers from Forth Berthold, North Dakota. The program was also presented as part of the 2018 Denver March Powwow and expanded awareness, engagement, inclusiveness and diversity.

For more on these and past winners, including videos highlighting their accomplishments, please visit: ArtsandVenues.com.