By Gary Steuer, CEO and President, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation
For more than three decades, the Annual Awards have honored extraordinary Coloradans for significant accomplishments in the areas of Arts and Humanities, Community Service, and Science and Medicine. In 2015, the focus of our Annual Awards was refined to more closely align with our overarching grantmaking goal – supporting arts and culture in the City of Denver for a vibrant community. So, beginning with these awards the Science, Medicine and the Arts Award recognizes a program, organization or individual that exemplifies the integration of the arts into addressing medical/scientific objectives; and our Community Service Award now honors an individual whose contributions to the community incorporate an impactful arts commitment .
Continuing in the spirit of Charles Stanton’s vision, we hope each of these awards acknowledge and celebrate the recipients’ efforts, and inspire others to greater achievement.
Let’s meet the 2016 Honorees!
Our Arts Award recipient is architect Curtis Fentress, FAIAA, RIBA. The architectural works of Fentress have transformed the skylines of Denver and cities around the world. Mr. Fentress is driven by his fascination with large scale public projects and making civic buildings more humanistic. He is a pioneer in integrating strict sustainability objectives with practical, real-life solutions. In Colorado, he designed the now iconic Denver International Airport, Mile High Stadium, Colorado Convention Center, Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center, 1999 Broadway, and the Jefferson County Government Center. National and international projects include: National Museum of the Marine Corps in Washington D.C.; Sanford Consortium of Regenerative Medicine research facility in La Jolla, California; National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming; Incheon International Airport in South Korea; the Arraya Tower in Kuwait; and the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. Mr. Fentress has been honored with the highest distinction in the field of public architecture, receiving the Thomas Jefferson Award from the American Institute of Architects. Fentress designs have been recognized with more than 500 awards and accolades for excellence.
Our Community Service Award honors Merle C. Chambers. She pioneered women’s leadership in the oil and gas industry as one of only a few women CEOs in a male-dominated industry and was the first woman inducted into the Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Hall of Fame. She founded Chambers Family Fund to support the early care and education of children, women’s economic self-sufficiency, and justice, equality and opportunity. Her philanthropy and leadership have made a profound difference in these areas. Merle devotes considerable time to philanthropy as President and Board Chair of the foundation. Merle believes that arts and culture institutions are important in creating and sustaining a vibrant and livable community, inspiring civic pride and providing educational and engaging experiences. For more than three decades, she has supported numerous arts organizations in Denver and her current priority is building a new home for Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art. Her support is not only an investment in the future of the Kirkland Museum, but also furthers the development of the vibrant Golden Triangle Neighborhood and Denver’s nationally important art scene.
The newly modified Science, Medicine and the Arts Award recognizes Children’s Hospital Colorado, where the arts play an essential role in healing – serving as medicine for the spirit, and offering opportunities for reflection and inspiration. Through the Ponzio Creative Arts Therapy program, art, music, dance/movement and yoga therapies allow children and their families to heal their body, mind, and spirit. Children’s Colorado infuses art throughout its facilities with its permanent collection of public art. The vibrant, art-filled atrium helps relax and delight parents and caregivers, sick children and siblings who may be going through an enormously stressful time. The hospital has a collection of over 400 original artworks including outdoor sculptures, which showcase local and regional artists. The Frederic C. Hamilton Gallery, with rotating exhibitions by local artists, offers respite, reflection, and inspiration to families. Performing arts events, more than 90 each year, include performances from the Colorado Ballet and Opera Colorado. Through their collaborative partnership with the Denver Art Museum, cultural and artistic opportunities come directly into the hospital setting, further enriching the lives of hospital team members and visitors alike.
It is clear that the 2016 recipients of the Bonfils-Stanton Award are in keeping with the 30+ year tradition of excellence in this program. These two individuals and one organization are bringing national and international acclaim to Denver and Colorado, making our community more vibrant and livable. May they inspire others to emulate their example!