This spring was especially exciting for Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, between the announcement of our first ever “Arts in Society” grants, the Road to Results Forum we presented in partnership with the Wallace Foundation, and our 32nd Annual Awards Celebration.

Now that we’ve officially wrapped up the excitement surrounding the Awards Celebration, we can take some time to reflect on the event and all of the elements that made it special, from the inspiring honorees and tribute films, to a flash mob performance by Central City Opera to pay tribute to our long-time chair Lanny Martin who was stepping down, to one particular moment at the event that had guests stunned – in a good way.Jovan Mays

When planning the Celebration, we knew we wanted to include an artistic element into the program. After all, that’s one of our core goals as a Foundation – to provide funding for some of Colorado’s best arts and cultural organizations. Little did we know when planning the performances, that we would be struck with something so profound and beautiful that it’s hard to describe through this article.

We commissioned Jovan Mays to create a spoken word piece to kick-off the programming for the Awards Luncheon in May. Now, we knew Jovan wouldn’t disappoint. He is, after all, a former Poet Laureate of Aurora, National Poetry Slam Champion and TED speaker and director of Your Writing Counts (a youth poetry program throughout Denver that has 200,000 students annually). Jovan takes words and spins them into gold.

In talking with him about this commission, we had asked Jovan to reflect on the power of the arts in our community, building on the work the foundation had done last year to answer the question “Why Arts?” on our website. What he did was go much deeper than we had expected, through soaring word and metaphor conjuring the elemental, literally prehistoric human drive to create, to express, through language, paint, clay, dance, and voice.

Jovan’s spoken word piece was so well-received, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation wanted to capture it visually so we can share it with others in a way that did it justice – not just as written word but as a performance and visual work. We’re excited to present The Foundation, a short film created by Sam Pike Films around Jovan Mays’ artistic piece. We are “the foundation” but the arts are THE Foundation! We hope you enjoy this piece and feel free to share it…