Arts organizations presented scholarships and awards to 38 students, 11 teachers, three arts champions and two organizations at the 39th Annual Arts Business Education Luncheon at The Antlers hotel yesterday.
The event is sponsored by the Arts Business Education Consortium, a program of the Pikes Peak Arts Council, to promote the growth of arts education in the 15 school districts in the Pikes Peak region, recognize innovation in arts education and honor individuals and organizations that support the arts.
The program is supported by COPPeR, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region; the Bee Vradenburg Foundation; the El Paso Council PTA; the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC; and local school districts, businesses and other arts organizations.
“The wonderful thing about creativity is it brings people together,” keynote speaker Dee Bradley Baker said.
Baker, a voice actor who has performed in “American Dad,” “Sponge Bob,” “Star Wars: Rebels” and Nickelodeon’s “Legends of the Hidden Temple” and “Avatar” animated series, is the go-to guy in Hollywood for voicing animals, monsters and aliens for television, movies and video games.
Baker said he grew up with creative influences at home. His dad, Buddy Baker, was a jazz musician and painter, and his great uncle also was a painter. He said he was encouraged to pursue his creativity when he told his father he wanted to be an actor.
“When you engage what’s coming at you with your creative mind, and you bring that to your professional life, it yields such fruit,” Baker said. “It enables you to pull something out that’s inside of you. That’s the entrepreneurial spirit; that’s what works. That’s why we’re here today.”
The annual celebration of artists, educators and arts supporters began with presentations of scholarships intended to encourage students to engage with the arts, said emcee Andy Vick, executive director of COPPeR.
Eighteen middle and junior high school students were awarded Mary Lou Anderson Scholarships for Arts Enrichment. The $100 scholarships honor a woman who was one of the founders of the Arts Business Education Consortium.
Anderson, who served as president of the Colorado PTA, also founded the National PTA Reflections program to enhance cultural arts and support arts education. Students throughout the state create works of art around an annual theme — “Within Reach” this year — and submit them for advancing levels of judging. Twenty local students placed at the state level, with Gold Award winners advancing to the national competition.
Five visual arts teachers who comprise the Sand Creek Zone of School District 49 received an award from the Pikes Peak Arts Council. Three more teachers, an administrator and a CEO also were honored by the Arts Business Education Consortium and COPPeR for their work and ongoing support of the arts, and three teachers received $300 mini grants to support special projects.
The Machine Shop, a coworking space that curates artists and showcases their work, won the Arts Opportunities Award.
The Arts Advocacy Award went to Mary Mashburn, former executive director of the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration, a docent and cofounder of the Tactile Gallery at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and a driving force on many boards and commissions. Mashburn was honored for her tireless encouragement of others and her own lifelong participation in the arts.
The Bee Vradenburg Foundation’s Bee and Arts Champion Award went to Sharon Friedman, founding producer of the Story Project, a member of the boards of Theatreworks and the Business of Art Center as well as the community funding panel for the Gay and Lesbian Fund.
The Chamber and EDC Business Support of the Arts Award went to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler received the COPPeR Community Support for Arts Education Award for the Passport for the Arts program at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. The program offers free membership and free and reduced-price access to productions, programs and classes at the Fine Arts Center and Bemis School of Art to fourth-graders and their families. Since its inception last September, more than 600 families have signed up for the program.