Scenes from the 2014 Business & Arts Lunch


  • Edie Adelstein
Yesterday, COPPeR and the Regional Business Alliance honored the partnership between arts and business with its annual lunch, which included awards and performances over a plate of hotel chicken.

Not that anyone's there for food anyway. This particular lunch, though, was notable for the number of public servants who attended (it's an election year), including: Irv Halter; John Suthers; Bernie Herpin; three members of Council, Jill Gaebler, Val Snyder and Jan Martin; all five county commissioners; officials from the town of Monument; Reps. Pete Lee and Tony Exum; and Mayor Bach attended briefly for a short speech.

This was the first year for new COPPeR executive director Andy Vick, who did a fine job of leading the ceremonies with co-host Joe Raso, CEO and president of the Alliance both donned in Arts Month T-shirts.

On to the awards, which were determined by a volunteer jury of locals:

• Creative Workplace Award: Poor Richard's Complex
Nominees: Library 21c, Adam's Mountain Cafe

Poor Richard's, a 2013 nominee for this category, won for its variety of local-focus efforts, such as hosting live music several nights a week, selling items made by locals, hosting book signings and readings from local and regional authors, and, among other things, renting its upstairs offices to the art groups Performing Arts for Youth Organization and the Colorado Springs Dance Theatre, as well as Citizens Project, at an affordable rate. Next year, the complex will celebrate its 40th year in business.

• Business Leader in the Arts: Nechie Hall
Nominees: Cass Mullane, Madeline VanDenHoek

Hall took a temporary leadership role at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center following Sam Gappmayer's leave late last year. Hall, who helped start what is now Vladimir Jones, has a long relationship with the FAC through its board, and has done much work linking the arts with marketing and business in the Springs.

• Philanthropy Award: Sam and Kathy Guadignoli (2013 nominees for Business Leader in the Arts)
Nominees: All Colorado Beer Festival, Downtown Partnership

The Mezzanine has the Guadignolis to thank for coming to life. The couple renovated the back of their Mansion nightclub to create this new, members-only performance art space. It's a gift to the Colorado Springs Conservatory, allowing it to expand its programming, and book the space with a variety of shows, ranging from theater to live music to burlesque. Read more about it here.

Raso and Vick - EDIE ADELSTEIN
  • Edie Adelstein
  • Raso and Vick

Finally, it wouldn't be the Business & Arts Luncheon without entertainment, which this year came via musicians Benjamin PrattJake Loggins and Jon Karroll (yes, of KOAA KRDO). The two performed a blues song that Loggins adjusted for the occasion, "Baby, Don't You Want to Go Back to the Land of Business and Arts, Sweet Home Colorado."; an operatic version of "Climb Every Mountain" from mezzo soprano Valerie Nicolosi of Opera Theatre of the Rockies; songs from the 4th Infantry Division Band of Fort Carson (new this year) and the Chamber Singers of the Colorado Springs Chorale. Aoi Koenig of Ormao Dance Company performed a short dance, and THEATREdART contributed a short, humorous, two-person play that went from silly to insidious in a charmingly quick sketch. Finally, Janice Gould, Pikes Peak Poet Laureate, read from her six-sonnet series "Crossing the West."

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