Colorado Ballet Firebird Gala Features Vivid Performances


Like the song says, “everything is beautiful at the ballet,” and it was epitomized by this year’s Colorado Ballet Firebird Gala. Moving dance performances, colorful décor, a sincere tribute to artistic director Gil Boggs, sumptuous food and beverages, and after-dinner dancing onstage at Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Each is a distinctive experience on its own. But everything combined into one evening? It was a fundraiser to remember.

Ballet mistress/choreographer Sandra Brown, with husband Gil Boggs, artistic director

The evening began with a cocktail reception at Chambers Grant Salon, before guests took their seats inside the theatre. There, after a short welcome from Boggs and Mayor Michael Hancock, they were treated to the dancing talent of Maria Mosina and Alexei Tyukov with Firebird Pas de Deux. Their lyrical performance was a bittersweet moment, as both confirmed onstage afterward that this is their last year. The anticipated debut of ARROW Five Years Out followed, as 10 dynamic dancers performed the work choreographed by Sandra Brown.

Maria Mosina

Gala chair Denise Sanderson presided over a tribute to Boggs, honoring his first 10 years of guiding the success and growth of the Colorado Ballet as artistic director. Boggs was surprised onstage by family members from Atlanta, who traveled to Denver for the gala. A live auction, run by Doug Tisdale, included unique items such as a private dinner for 10 prepared by renowned Denver chef Frank Bonanno, as well as a stunning portrait of Maria Mosina, created by Darrell Anderson. After a paddle raise featuring generous donors, guests adjourned outside for a sumptuous dinner prepared by Kevin Taylor’s at the Opera House. The evening ended with dancing on the Ellie stage with DJ Larry.

Reps from presenting sponsor ARROW Electronics

Gala chair Sanderson wrote: “Many of our dancers’ careers have been made possible through scholarship opportunities that allowed them to pursue their dreams to become professional dancers. Increased support of our Academy Scholarship Fund will help the next generation of dancers reach their potential as well.

With the mission of Every.Body.Dance, Colorado Ballet’s Education and Community Engagement department is our hidden gem. Far-ranging programs serve in-need students, teachers, families, people with disabilities and lifelong learners in Colorado. Student matinees have always been one of my favorites – imagine the Ellie Caulkins Opera House filled with 2,000 energetic and excited students, many of whom are experiencing their first live performance. One first-grade student commented to his teacher: “This is way better than TV!”

For schools that lack funds for transportation or that are located in rural areas precluding a field trip to Denver, Colorado Ballet has begun an innovative program to live stream performances directly to the classroom, thereby removing barriers to experiencing the arts.

Increasing the capacity of community engagement and opportunities for Academy students to be supported by scholarships are two ways Colorado Ballet is planning for the future – Five Years Out, as ARROW says. I hope you will reach deep and support these outstanding programs…” For more information on the Colorado Ballet, its programs and donor opportunities, please visit:

ArtReach Festival of Trees "It's a Wrap" Closing Party


The ArtReach November re-launch of its popular Festival of Trees has attracted hundreds of families seeking a beautiful holiday creation including uniquely individual and colorful wreaths, Christmas trees and other decorations. The event runs every day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sunday, December 20. The ArtReach “It’s a Wrap” Closing Party held Friday, December 11 was hosted in the heart of the Lakewood’s 40 West Arts District at 6300 W. Colfax Avenue – site of the non-profit’s highly successful signature event Dine & D’Art held in September.

ArtReach provides access to Denver art venues and exhibits with its free ticketing program and arts education through after-school programs and summer art camps. Every year ArtReach programs ensure that more than 35,000 individuals and families have the opportunity to experience the arts.

Special thanks go to this year’s ArtReach Festival of Trees sponsors: CBS4, 92.5/The Wolf , Mix 100.3, Kool 105, Jay’s Valet, Callahan & Associates, Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, The Denver Post, Frame de Art, The Wizard’s Chest, Liberty Waste Management, Table Mountain Inn, Scott and Shannon Pope, Cindy and David Hayes, Swingle, and Mesch Commercial Real Estate.

The Festival of Trees has been extended to Sunday, December 20 so there is still time to buy that holiday treasure for your home. To purchase tickets online please visit the blacktie colorado link here.

Festivel of Trees tickets are $8 per person for ages 1+. Children under 1 year of age are free. No strollers please. For more information visit or call 303-433-2882.

Aurora Mental Health Center's 9th Annual Student Art Contest & Show


The Aurora Mental Health Center this year celebrated its 40th Anniversary along with its 9th Annual Student Art Contest at the Radisson Hotel in Aurora.

A record 450 artworks from 23 Aurora-area schools displayed the power of creativity from K-12 students, recognized for their imaginative contributions. In total 14 award ribbons went to students followed by recognition of teachers, staff and board members.

“It’s phenomenal!” said AUMHC board President Peter Cukale, “Every year this event gets bigger and bigger.”

AUMHC was founded by a group of concerned Aurora residents lead by Ellin Mrachek who were determined to bring mental health services to the city in the mid-1970s.

The 9th Annual AUMHC “Living Life to the Fullest” student art show and contest featured works based on this year’s theme of “What Fills Your Heart with Joy?”

The annual event, sponsored by Citywide Banks, selected first and second place winners in each of the 4 grade categories from Kindergarten to 12th grade, as well as four Director’s Choice Award recipients, a holiday card selection, and teacher recognition for four instructors. Winners received a certificate and were recognized on stage before a crowd of more than 200 guests, friends and family members and several Aurora and Arapahoe county representatives.

First Place Winners were:
K-3: Dakota Fink
4-6 Annie Nuetzel
7-8 Emily Merrell
9-12 Janet Najar

2nd Place Winners:
K-3: Mackenzie Price
4-6 Munirah Kramer
7-8 Lexi Lowe
9-12 Renee Pugh

Honorable Mention Winner: Justin Roach
Holiday Card Selection: Mariana Carvallo
Teacher Recognition: John Breeding, Brooks Mullen, Genevieve Deits, Sarah Grundemann

Director’s Choice Award Winners:
Taylor Davidson, 2nd grade, High Plains Elementary
Caitlyn Bradley, 4th grade, Altura Elementary
Grace Ko, 8th grade, Fox Ridge Middle School
Taryn Montgomery, 11th grade, William Smith High School

Near the close of the event, Dr. Stith handed a letter from Colorado Senator Michael Bennet to Board President Cukale who read it to the crowd. Bennet’s letter praised the organization’s commitment to expanding mental health services and recognized its four decades of award-winning service. Staff and board recognition and awards were followed by board elections.

Founded in 1975, Aurora Mental Health Center provides community mental health services through 16 clinics, residential facilities, schools, and county human services. AUMHC has more than 400 employees and about 100 volunteers–recognized as among the best by the Colorado Division of Mental Health.

For more information or to donate please visit or call 303-617-2300

Restoration Hardware opens its Old World doors to Cherry Creek


Elegance, good taste and manners dominated the evening of October 14, 2015.

When Restoration Hardware opened its door, they were not just any doors, mind you. They were large as castle doors that opened onto a marble foyer sparkling with exquisite chandeliers enhanced by subtle low-lighting. On entering, one simply followed the arched entrances into each differently well-decorated library, living room, den, bedroom, or sitting room. To the non-royals invited, it was like entering a royal villa in Monte Carlo.

The invitation-only guest list was dotted with local celebs known for their business, talent and philanthropic endeavors. The evening was for show and appreciation, RH wanted to show off this magnificent work of art to the public, that is now part of the Cherry Creek Mall. Though it was elegant and over-the-top, it was not a total for-show evening or, for that matter, one for successful profiling. Guests came to support the evening’s benefactors which were Children’s Hospital Colorado and The Denver Art Museum.

The new Restoration Hardware store is hands-down one of the most elegant and tasteful stores ever built – anywhere. Cherry Creek deserves this honor while the mall’s many shoppers will soon be completely in love with the store’s look and concept.

It’s not every day there’s a party in Denver that blows everyone’s minds. The Restoration Hardware opening will go down as one of the most awesome events ever. Guests were treated to live music, endless Bellinis, fresh appetizers of tuna, lobster, prime rib, gourmet chocolates and donut holes filled with ricotta cheese. They were out of this world.

What a party, what a place, what gracious loveliness and class. Congratulations to Restoration Hardware and Cherry Creek Mall. This is a very good friendship indeed.






ArtReach 7th Annual Dine & D'Art


The ArtReach 7th Annual Dine & D’Art proved once again that the passion of Denver artists, long-time supporters, volunteers, and donors are more important than a fancy, sophisticated venue. Creative artistry (or wizardry) converted an old, abandoned Walgreen’s on Colfax Avenue in Lakewood into a kaleidoscope of colorful artworks from some of Denver’s most creative painters, mixed-media artists, sculptors and ceramicists, to name a few.

Some 300 guests attended the event for ArtReach, a 41-year old non-profit that provides access to Denver art venues and exhibits with its free ticketing program and arts education through after-school programs and summer art camps.

Established  nearly a decade ago, the Dine & D’art event allows participants to review artworks during a cocktail hour, enjoy dinner and at evening end get called in an auction system to run or “dart” to select their selection.

This year more than 60 artists donated nearly 100 pieces with a minimum value of $400 for auction.

Emcee Lauren Whitney of CBS4 introduced guests to the proceedings while artists Lonnie Hanzon and Brad Ramsey worked throughout the night on live paintings on multiple canvases spread some 30 feet across the back of the room.
Executive Director Karla Johnson-Grimes thanked guests and urged them to be polite as they raced to claim and capture a favorite painting or customized wooden furniture piece, ceramic platters or mosaics.

ArtReach Board Member and Event Chair Jeff Horvorka of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts described the organization’s impact and Board Member Brad Ramsey provided first-hand stories of working with at-risk youth. Auctioneer Tracy Weise lead the live auction and coaxed multiple bids from long-time supporters.

This year’s sponsors included CBS4, 92.5/The Wolf , Mix 100.3, Kool 105, Jay’s Valet, Callahan & Associates, Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, The Denver Post, Frame de Art, The Wizard’s Chest, Liberty Waste Management, Table Mountain Inn, Scott and Shannon Pope, Cindy and David Hayes, Swingle, and Mesch Commercial Real Estate.

ArtReach’s unique ticketing program works with local schools and other organizations to access to the visual and performing arts and venues throughout Denver by providing free tickets to various cultural events including theatre, concerts and exhibits. ArtReach also funds and organizes after-school programs, art workshops, and summer camps to increase exposure to the arts for at-risk youth, developmentally disabled, seniors and other groups.

Hovorka announced the return this December of ArtReach’s Festival of Trees, a key signature event and popular citywide Denver attraction in the 1980s and 1990s. On hiatus since 2005, guests cheered their approval for the revival of the December holiday exhibit/fundraiser that auctions off decorative holiday wreaths and Christmas trees created by Denver artists. For more information about the organization visit


Tiffany & Co. Celebrates the Symphony

“There’s nothing stuffy about it. Traditional instruments can play surprising music and that’s really fun.” – Suzanne Sarver, CSO

Last evening two violins, one viola and a cello delicately rocked the room with music from Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles and the Eagles. It was a teaser for the upcoming Colorado Symphony Orchestra Ball: From Bach . . . To Rock: The Battle of the Bands. Tiffany & Co. in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center provided a sparkling location for the gathering. Among hundreds of perfectly cut diamond rings, stunning necklaces and brilliant sterling silver frames, guests enjoyed drinks and delicious hors d’oeuvres created by Catering by Design. Women tried on earrings and bracelets as on-lookers cooed at the beauty of the pieces. But, the conversation was mostly around the excitement of the soon-to-be-here Ball being held on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at Fillmore Auditorium.

“Last year, I think it’s safe to say, the CSO Ball was one of the best philanthropic events anyone in Colorado had ever been to,” said a proud Colorado Symphony CEO Jerry Kern. He’s not exaggerating, as last year the event sold-out at 1,000 people. This year promises to be doubly entertaining with Denver’s premier rock-n-roll cover band The Moderators playfully competing to be the fan favorite against the DaVita Blues All Stars.

“It’s palpable how excited we are to be a part of this event,” shared a smiling Jim Greenwood, a member of DaVita Blues.

The Moderators include CEOs from eight of Denver’s largest and smallest companies. In seven years the group has raised more than two million dollars for various charitable organizations in metro Denver. They competition – the DaVita Blues All Stars – formed more than 10 years ago and has earned accolades as finalists in competition at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH in 2006 and 2010.

“We are a community first and a company second and community cares about making people feel good,” said Kent Thiry, chairman and CEO of DaVita and co-chair of the Ball. “Music does that and therefore we feel a philosophical kinship with the symphony.”

The Ball calls for dancing. Yet, all those who move must compete with Gov. John Hickenlooper. Jerry Kern cheekily warned guests that the “dance star” didn’t get off the floor last year. This year Gov. Hickenlooper may have to quiet his feet for a moment as he is being honored with the Margaret Phipps Award.

The CSO is the region’s only full-time professional orchestra. Its mission is to create extraordinary musical experiences that transport today’s listener, from the best of the past to the edge of the future. The Colorado Symphony embraces a tradition of musical excellence by presenting a diverse array of symphonic performances throughout the year. Originally established in 1989 as the successor to the Denver Symphony, the Colorado Symphony thrives on a spirit of collaboration among musicians, staff, trustees and the community. The Colorado Symphony performs in Boettcher Concert Hall and On Location throughout the state and region with small ensembles to the full-sized orchestra. Programs include education and outreach initiatives, and concert series for all types of listeners, including Masterworks, Pops, Holiday, Family, Inside the Score and Symphony on the Rocks at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. By presenting music that is both timeless and inspiring, while taking risks with new musical collaborations and interactive concerts, the Colorado Symphony is committed to reaching global audiences with the use of state-of-the-art digital media via live streaming and concert downloads.