Colorado Springs Business & Arts Award Winners
Hannah Parsons, left, and Lisa Tessarowicz, who started Epicentral Coworking last year in downtown Colorado Springs, celebrate Epicentral’s award in the category of Creative Workspace/Workforce at Wednesday’s Business & Arts Lunch. Photo by @wayneheilman. This article originally appeared in the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Kirkpatrick Bank Chairman Christian Keesee was honored along with three businesses Wednesday by business and arts organizations for their support of the arts and integrating arts and creativity into their companies.
Keesee, of Oklahoma City, was named Business Leader in the Arts by the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance, formerly the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC, and the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region. He is founder of the Green Box Arts Festival, which every summer provides artists and visitors to Green Mountain Falls with an opportunity to explore and nurture the creative process.
Keesee also is president of Kirkpatrick Family Fund, which supports the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs and the cultural office’s Peak Arts Fund. Kirkpatrick Bank is based in Edmond, Okla., but operates a branch in downtown Colorado Springs.
The two groups gave their Philanthropy Award to U.S. Bank for its longtime sponsorship of the Art on the Streets program, which has brought more than 160 works of public art to the downtown area since the program was started in 1999. The groups said that Art on the Streets “generates new excitement for public art, provides a wide platform for artist exposure and enhances the physical and visual downtown environment.”
Epicentral Coworking received the Creative Workspace/Workforce Award. Lisa Tessarowicz and Hannah Parsons started Epicentral last year in downtown Colorado Springs to provide entrepreneurs and independent professionals with work space they share with others. The groups said Epicentral “took the coworking concept to a whole new level by creating a vibrant and eclectic working environment for their members by giving careful attention to the aesthetic qualities of the office, from lighting to music, to hanging artwork by local artists on the walls.”
The groups also presented a special award for “Creative Initiative” to Wild Fire Tees, formed by designers, marketers and printers hours after the Waldo Canyon fire roared into the Mountain Shadows neighborhood, killing two people and destroying 346 homes. The group generated more than $300,000 in sales from T-shirts honoring firefighters and artwork that was donated to the Colorado Red Cross, Care and Share, the Colorado Wildfire Relief Fund, Colorado Springs Together and other nonprofits benefiting fire victims.
The awards were presented at a luncheon that was attended by 280 business, arts and civic leaders at the Antlers Hilton hotel and featured performances by artists ranging from singer Judeth Shay Burns and Colorado Poet Laureate Dave Mason to clown Jim Jackson.