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Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver Arts & Venues and the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs are pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Arts & Culture. 

Presented since 1986, the Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Arts & Culture recognize programs, individuals and organizations that make significant and lasting contributions to the arts in the City and County of Denver.

“We’re incredibly lucky to have so many wonderful creative individuals and cultural organizations in our community,” Mayor Hancock said. “Art and culture are what helps define a great city, and we’re honored to recognize the work that these awardees have done to continue to bring their inspirational and impactful programs to our residents, especially over these challenging past two years.”

Four award-winners received a $2,500 stipend to continue their great work in Denver’s cultural sector. Honorees will be recognized at a luncheon along with 2022 winners later this year. 

Videos highlighting the awardees can be found on artsandvenues.com/mayors-awards-2021

2021 Award Winner: Pop Culture Classroom

Through its Classroom program, Pop Culture Classroom (PCC) works with schools, youth-serving organizations, museums and many other partners to offer innovative arts education programming. This programming includes:
• Highly customizable workshops that help students learn to make their own comics, board games or cosplay; create fictional worlds and craft narratives; develop targeted skills through playing board games, video games and tabletop role-playing games.
• Colorful History, a comic series about diverse people and events in Colorado and U.S. history that may not be covered in traditional textbooks.
• Storytelling Through Comics (STC) and Game On! (GO!), PCC’s two Common Core-aligned curricular units that help teachers, parents, and students understand the educational value of comics and games.
• Special programs serving targeted populations, such as LEAD (Literacy Education in Adolescent Detention) With Comics, which works with youth in detention facilities, and Connection Through Comics, which works with refugees to tell their stories through comics.

This award is presented to a person under 24 that has made a noteworthy difference in the community through the arts or an organization that has significantly impacted the lives of youth in the City and County of Denver through the arts.

2021 Award Winner: Innervision

Through live and recorded performances and vocational training in many aspects of the entertainment industry, Innervision promotes personal services to aspiring broadcasters with disabilities in the Denver area. Innervision nurtures the talents and skills of local artists from diverse backgrounds while sponsoring concerts, events and weekly radio shows that enrich and educate the entire community. The organization was founded in 1991 by Johnnie W. Johnson and Wayne Turner, two African-American recording industry experts who are both blind. For thirty years, Johnson and Turner have used the power of music to foster education, acceptance, and inspiration for artists and audiences alike. Innervision has made broadcasting accessible and recording affordable, and has showcased artists throughout Denver at clubs and festivals, and on television and radio.

This award is presented to an individual or an organization that has made a significant and lasting impact on arts and culture in the City and County of Denver. This category requires that the nominee have at least 10 years of history in the arts in the City and County of Denver.

2021 Award Winner: Edgar L. Page 

Edgar L. Page comes from traditions celebrating the African Diaspora and legacies of Black Modern Dance. Locally, he stewards creative incubators employing the Africanist Aesthetic of Cool to inform a lush amalgamation of contemporary dance movement. He centralizes on storytelling and narration in his work.

This award is presented to an individual or organization that found innovative and creative ways to make meaningful connections with community or partnered with others through arts & culture during 2020 and 2021 – a time of shutdowns and social distancing.

2021 Award Winner: Color of Conversation

Floyd and Stephanie Rance have made a mark as innovators in the arts and culture space by highlighting the works of filmmakers of color in Denver and by encouraging major studios and streaming platforms to take the city of Denver seriously as a market for promoting their multi-cultural films. Through Run&Shoot Filmworks, Floyd and Stephanie Rance have produced "The Color of Conversation," a highly successful film series through which they amplify the voices of the African American, Latino and the LBGTQIA+ community through purposeful conversations and thought-provoking films.

This award is presented to an individual or organization that has focused on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) through their work. Nominees for this award may have: worked to integrate an equity practice into their operations, developed a specific program the supports communities that have been historically marginalized including people of color, people with disabilities or LGBTQIA+, presented an event centered in social justice and the arts, or may be able to demonstrate commitments and authentic partnerships with historically under-resourced communities.