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CBCA Applauds 12 Honorees at Sold-Out Business for the Arts Awards Luncheon

Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA) recognized 12 honorees at its 2023 Business for the Arts Awards, presented by EY and PNC Bank. This sold-out event was attended by 700 corporate, cultural and civic leaders at the Seawell Ballroom, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, as well as live streamed to attendees. CBCA’s largest annual fundraiser and celebration, the Awards luncheon is the only statewide event honoring companies and individuals for their outstanding partnerships and engagement with the arts.

Founded in 1985, CBCA has been producing this inspiring, arts-infused event for 35 years, featuring exemplary honorees and a variety of homegrown entertainers and Colorado artists. CBCA has honored over 200 companies and individuals in that time.

“It was wonderful to be back with another sold-out Awards luncheon,” said Dustin Whistler, CBCA Board Chair and Founder & Principal, Forte Commercial Real Estate. “This year’s honorees truly demonstrated the impact of CBCA’s mission and how arts and business partnerships can foster innovation, inclusion and economic growth.”

The Awards luncheon program was emceed by CBS4 Anchorman and award-winning Journalist Jim Benemann, who has emceed this event for over a decade and retires later this month. The program was punctuated with four diverse live performances featuring Colorado-based artists, sponsored by Moye White. The program kicked off with a moving performance by Denver singer, songwriter and performance artist Kayla Marque. Leela Dance Collective, an international touring dance company, performed the North Indian dance form kathak. The Boulder Bassoon Quartet showcased a range of musical genres and Wild Heart Dance closed out the event with a riveting contemporary dance piece. 

Prior to the event, guests mingled at a networking reception, sponsored by Xcel Energy, featuring music from Denver-Boulder area singers and instrumentalists, Planina: Songs of Eastern Europe. Honorees and sponsors attended a VIP Reception, sponsored by Anythink Libraries, with live music from singer, songwriter and musician Casino Perosi at Prelude + Post.

The original Award Artwork presented to each honoree was commissioned from interdisciplinary artist Autumn T. Thomas, and sponsored by HealthONE. Each of the illuminated mixed media table centerpieces were crafted by the Art Students League of Denver, and sponsored by Bellco Credit Union.

2023 Arts & Business Partnership Award Honorees

The Arts & Business Partnership Award honorees are exemplary organizations that have gone above and beyond to support the arts and creative industries. 

  • Colectiva is dedicated to advancing Latinx and BIPOC artists and creative businesses, ranging from chefs to dancers. Since 2020, Colectiva has worked with over 30 businesses and organizations to foster collaborations, infuse our community with art and advocate for culture. 

  • Colorado School of Mines students and faculty in the George S. Ansell Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering and the Hennebach Program in the Humanities collaborated with performing arts collective itchy-O to create one-of-kind musical instruments, advancing the field of musical engineering, and showcasing the intersection of the arts and science.

  • Fitzsimons Credit Union is deeply invested in supporting and promoting the Aurora Cultural Arts District. Fitzsimons staff and philanthropy support Downtown Aurora Visual Arts (DAVA), Aurora Fox Theater, Colfax Canvas Mural Fest, and We Are A-Town Art District Clean-Up events.

  • Gill Foundation & Scream Agency partnered with the LGBTQ artist community in Denver, as well as History Colorado and RiNo Arts District, to raise awareness about the pivotal LGBTQ movements in 2021. Local artists depicted key LGBTQ milestones on canvas, wood, and even a warehouse garage.

  • McWhinney believes that incorporating art is necessary for successful placemaking. With arts and culture as one of its brand pillars, McWhinney brings its commitment to life at a multitude of properties in Colorado, such as Dairy Block, Centerra in Loveland and Denver Union Station. 

  • Mishawaka Amphitheatre and their philanthropic arm, the Mish Initiative, having been partnering with the Front Range community and beyond to expand access to live music, catalyze the careers of Colorado musicians, and shape the policy to improve the music ecosystem.

  • Modivcare worked with Access Gallery to fill their new corporate headquarters with 100 original artworks created by artists with disabilities and seniors, which aligns with their mission to provide health access to underserved communities. 

  • U.S. Bank in a national leader in corporate support and employee engagement for arts and culture. The arts are one of three community focus areas, which results in more than $250,000 annually to support a range of Colorado cultural organizations through the U.S. Bank Foundation. 

EY Next Wave Leadership Award

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

  • Ashley Cornelius, LPC, RESTORE Program Manager, Denver Health is a passionate advocate for mental health, empowerment and racial equity. A licensed counselor and Pikes Peak Region Poet Laureate, Cornelius is committed to using poetry as a platform to speak up and out for marginalized groups and be a voice for those who have been silenced.

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. 

  • Deborah Malden, Co-Founder/Board Member, Create Boulder and Arts Liaison & Advisor, Boulder Chamber has been advocating for the arts since graduating from Leadership Arts in 2013. Malden’s leadership service includes 3rd Law Dance/Theater, SCFD Board of Directors, Create Boulder, Boulder Chamber, CBCA’s Colorado Cultural Champions and more. 

Volunteer Attorney Impact Award

The Volunteer Attorney Impact Award 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. 

  • Brian Hanning, Attorney, Hanning Law Limited has been an active volunteer with Colorado Attorneys for the Arts (CAFTA) since 2017, helping numerous artists and creative entrepreneurs with their legal needs, answering questions on CAFTA consultation clinics, and advocating for startup and small business support in Northern Colorado. 

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. 

  • Merle Chambers, business person and co-founder, Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art is a pioneer of women’s leadership and philanthropy, supporting significant capital projects at several museums, performance venues and cultural institutions. Chambers was recently appointed by U.S. President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts (PACA).

CBCA thanks our generous sponsors who make this event possible. The Business for the Arts Awards are presented by EY and PNC Bank. Generous support is also provided by HealthONE, Bellco Credit Union, Moye White, Xcel Energy and Anythink Libraries. In-kind and media partners are CBS4, ColoradoBiz Magazine, Denver Business Journal, Ligature Creative, Moxtopia, and The Publishing House.


Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA) advances Colorado’s creative economy by connecting business and the arts through arts engagement, advocacy, training, research, and volunteerism. CBCA is a 38-year-old 501c3 nonprofit membership organization of leading Colorado companies who recognize the link between cultural vitality and economic success.  Learn more at

How to Prepare Your Finances for the Holiday Season

The year’s closing months are an ideal time to be proactive about your finances and set yourself up well for the holiday season and the new year ahead. For many, financial concerns often rise with expectations to spend on gifts and entertaining family and friends this time of year, and this pressure may feel amplified given the uncertainties of today’s economy. According to a recent survey by Deloitte, Colorado consumers plan to spend 12% less compared to last year.  While worrying doesn’t solve much, having a plan to manage financial challenges can help ease the stress.

READ — On The First Day Of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me: A 10.5% Price Hike (PNC CPI)

Here are some tips for tackling your money stress and taking control of your finances during the holiday season from Bank of America’s Better Money Habits®.

Determine a Goal and Create a Budget for it.

Write down everyone you plan to give gifts to – from your nearest and dearest to your in-laws and the mail carrier. Then put a dollar figure next to each name. Setting price limits help you keep your holiday budget on track. For big-ticket items, start saving in advance and utilize your bank’s automatic transfer feature.  And keep in mind costly shipping fees – keep watch for special “free shipping” days.

Make Your credit card work for You

Many credit cards offer benefits from purchase protection and free credit score information to loyalty points and monetary rewards for everyday purchases like groceries and gas that help stretch your dollars further. Review what benefits your credit cards may provide. However, it’s essential to manage your credit responsibly and pay your credit card bill on time and in full each month whenever possible.

Make the Most of Your Income

When money is tight, it’s important to make the most of the income you do have. Know that small steps add up. For example, you may not be able to cut any one expense by $500 a month, but you may be able to identify five that you can cut by $100 each. Identify nonessentials you can scale back, such as entertainment and dining out, and do more free activities. And if you see that perfect gift but it’s out of your budget, price shop online – many stores will match the lowest price.

Homemade Gifts Are Always Appreciated

Homemade presents are great ways to save money while creating something memorable. These gifts might not work for everyone on your list, but they’re good options for some. Consider photos for grandparents or cookies for your kids’ teachers.

To help stay financially fit during the holiday season, Bank of America offers a wealth of free tips and advice though


Roberto HernandezRoberto Hernandez is the Financial Center Manager at Bank of America , Denver