Pikes Peak Arts Council Awards honor established and emerging arts professionals


Josh Boehnke thanks mentor Ralph Giordano, who presented the awards for film. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Josh Boehnke thanks mentor Ralph Giordano, who presented the awards for film.

The October 17 Pikes Peak Arts Council Awards gala was a colorful and congratulatory affair, with awards handed out to established and emerging Pikes Peak region artists in the categories of dance, film, literary arts, music, theater and visual arts. In addition, PPAC awarded its annual Rising Star Award, Arts Champion of the Year Award, Eve Tilley Lifetime Achievement Award and, a new category this year, the Future of the Arts Award.

The “future of the arts” proved to be a central theme of the evening, with many awards and speeches focusing on education, community building, and getting young people involved in the arts.

Presenting the Rising Star Award to filmmaker Steven Sabell, Claire Swinford (last year’s recipient) called Sabell a “young professional in our community, who is making waves in his chosen medium. He is an artist to watch in coming years,” adding that this award can provide incredible encouragement and support to young artists, which they need to move this community forward.

Multiple categories awarded the up-and-coming. The award for Youth Dance Production went to the Colorado Ballet Society for their production of The Music Man, the first in the society’s new theater program. In film, Josh Boehnke took home the Young Filmmaker Award and the award for Comedy/Drama Film for his film (Because In The End) It’s Only Helium. The award for Documentary Film also went to a young person. Tea Santos of the Youth Documentary Academy thanked YDA for giving her the space to discuss her mental illness in the hopes of educating others.

In literature, Hear Here Poetry’s youth slam program won Program by a Literary Arts Organization. While printmaker and community builder Han Sayles took home Outstanding Emerging Visual Artist in the visual arts category.

The Future of the Arts award captured the spirit of each of these commendations. In introducing the award, Lynette Reagan said, “The question asked this year is: ‘What does the future of art look like in this region?’ It was agreed we wanted to keep the good stuff from the past, but we wanted more. What does that more look like?” She said the future of the arts should include more young people, more collaboration, more unique skills, and a greater spirit of sharing. The recipient of this award encapsulated all of the above.

Local arts organization Concrete Couch organizes community-based projects, hosting skillshares and arts-focused gatherings, centering sustainability and social justice in their mission. Accepting on behalf of Concrete Couch, Kendall Kultgen said: “The ultimate mission is to bring people together and build community, to share things, collaborate, have human experiences with someone, make something with someone ... the future of the arts really isn’t one person, or even Concrete Couch and the staff. It’s the community.”

But for all the focus on the future, PPAC made sure to honor the past, and the established artists and art patrons who have helped build this community for years, if not decades. Mainstay awardees included the Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, which won the theatre Make ‘Em Sing award for Man of La Mancha; Wendy Mike and De Lane Bredvik took home the award for Excellent Gallery Exhibit for Ragnarök: Anthropocene; The Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Colorado Springs Chorale and Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale won Outstanding Classical Performance for their collaborative production of Carmina Burana; and more familiar faces took their earned place at the podium.

The Arts Champion of the Year award went to someone who, as presenter Jon Khoury said, is not what one might traditionally consider an artist. However, thanks to her enthusiasm, “unique expression” and generosity, Khoury said: “To me, you are an artist, just as much as anyone in the traditional sense is an artist.”

Chris McGarry, who earned a standing ovation as she ascended the stage, has been a patron of the arts in the Pikes Peak Region since moving here in 2013, donating time, money and energy to organizations such as TheatreWorks, GOCA, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and many more. After her heartfelt speech, multiple award recipients interrupted their own acceptance speeches to tell their favorite Chris McGarry story, proving her impact on local arts.

Another notable award, the Eve Tilley Lifetime Achievement Award, was presented to someone who has worked tirelessly to enrich the arts community for 40 years. Patti Boles, owner and instructor at Studio Dance and Art Center, has served on multiple boards of directors, and has consistently supported dance, music, visual art, theatre and more right here in Colorado Springs.

Take a look at all the nominees and winners below and scroll down for a slideshow of each winner:


Youth Dance Production
Colorado Ballet Society for The Music Man (winner)
Professional Academy of New Dramatic Arts for Shrek the Musical
Turning Pointe School of Dance for Annie Jr.

Pas de Deux: Outstanding Collaborative Performance
Colorado Springs Dance Theatre for Parsons Dance
Ormao Dance Company with Glen Whitehead for PrePress (winner)
Ormao Dance Company with Green Box Arts, Green Box Arts Festival 2017

Exceptional Performance of The Nutcracker
Colorado Springs Philharmonic with Oklahoma City Ballet
Colorado Youth Ballet with Colorado Ballet Society
Zamuel Ballet School (winner)


Comedy/Drama Film
(Because In The End) It’s Only Helium by Josh Boehnke (winner)
Hapless Horror by Wes Clark
Lunatic by Nathaniel Shields

Documentary Film
Love Me by Josh Sun
Movement for Movement’s Sake by Thomas Crandall
Surviving by Tea Santos (winner)

Young Filmmaker Award
Tea Santos
Josh Sun
Josh Boehnke (winner)


Outstanding Classical Performance
Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Colorado Springs Chorale, and Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale for Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana (winner)
Opera Theatre of the Rockies for Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado
Chamber Orchestra of the Springs for JazzMasters: The Brubeck Brothers Quartet

Music Group
Dead Set
Fortune’s Fool
Tejon Street Corner Thieves (winner)

Technical or Venue Achievement
The Flux Capacitor and Pikes Peak Library District Partnership
Jonathan Rose and The Black Sheep
Wescott Pro Audio Recording Studio (winner)

Literary Arts

Individual Literary Artist
Phil Ginsburg
Idris Goodwin (winner)
Nat Stein

Program by a Literary Arts Organization
Poetry West
Hear Hear Poetry Youth Slam Program (winner)
Pikes Peak Poet Laureate Program

Collective/Individual Published Work
Colorado Collective Volume 4
Inauguration by Nico Wilkinson and Idris Goodwin (winner)
Poetry West


Make ‘Em Sing
UCCS Theatre Company for Cabaret
The Millibo Art Theatre for Babette's Knockout Opera
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College for Man of La Mancha (winner)

Make ‘Em Laugh
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College for Bye Bye Birdie
The Millibo Art Theatre for Babette's Knockout Opera
THEATREWORKS for Game of Love and Chance (winner)

Make ‘Em Think
Springs Ensemble Theatre for The Elephant Man
THEATREWORKS for The Hairy Ape
UCCS Theatre Company for Cabaret (winner)

Visual Arts

Excellent Gallery Exhibit
Chris Mike and Rob Miller for Skateboarding - Not One Ounce of Compromise at Kreuser Gallery
Wendy Mike and De Lane Bredvik for Ragnarӧk: Anthropocene at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College (winner)
The Black Power Tarot at the Gallery of Contemporary Art

Outstanding Established Visual Artist

Steve Weed
Lindsay Hand (winner)
Kim Nguyen

Outstanding Emerging Visual Artist
Jasmine Dillavou
Han Sayles (winner)
JD Sell

[Disclosure: Alissa Smith was on the theatre committee, and contributed to the selection process in the theatre category.]

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