The Brighton Cultural Arts Commission has selected the following winners for its 2021 Excellence in Arts Awards: Jo Pinto, Chris Romero, Wilma Rose, Sydney VanderWal, Stephanie Brown and Dolly Garcia.
Brighton’s most recently named cultural arts champions will be recognized with the Excellence in Arts Awards at the Oct. 19 City Council meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 500 S. Fourth Ave. The evening will start with a reception in a large tent in the City Hall parking lot to accommodate the public with seating, entertainment and refreshments. About the winners:
Jo Pinto – Master of Fine Arts: The author was raised in Brighton and graduated with exceptional grades, despite being blind. Her first book, The Bright Side of Darkness (2015), won a first-place Indie Book Award for inspirational fiction, and several awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. Pinto published her second book in 2020, titled Daddy Won’t Let Mom Drive the Car: True Tales of Parenting in the Dark. Pinto also serves on the Brighton Historic Preservation Commission and the Diversity Council.
(Correction: “Daddy Won’t Let Mom Drive the Car” was published in 2019. “Apples of Gold” Timely Advice When the World Doesn’t Seem Lovely” was published in 2020.
Chris Romero – Master of Performing Arts: The actor and musician is a Colorado native born and raised in Brighton and has been part of the Denver music scene for almost 20 years. Romero has been part of several bands over the years and movies including Halloween 2, and Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead.
Wilma Rose – Visionary: She serves the art community in many ways – currently president of the Brighton Public Art Committee, vice president of the Brighton Cultural Arts Commission and member of the Sculpture on Loan Committee, Eye for Art Committee, and BrightonMusic Choir. Rose is a past member of Brighton City Council and also served on the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District Selection Committee.
Sydney VanderWal – Master of Cultural Arts in Education: VanderWal has been with 27J Schools for many years and at Innovations & Options for four years. She is a mentor for the teachers and staff as well as for her students. VanderWal is an artist who motivates students to do their best work.
Stephanie Brown – Outstanding Volunteer in Cultural Arts: She was born and raised in Kansas. She and her husband, Norm, lived in Massachusetts before moving to Brighton in 2010. Most of her creative outlets over the years were in tole painting, furniture refinishing and many other hobbies. She also has pursued her interest in glass art. Brown has participated in Art at the Armory, Art in The Park and Echter’s Glass Show. She displays her glass creations at Main Street Gallery.
Dolly Garcia – Beyond Brighton: Dolly Garcia is a “behind-the-scenes” worker who sees what needs to be done and works to make vision a reality. She has dedicated herself to two programs that made a difference in Brighton – Platte Valley Players and the Readers Theater at Eagle View Adult Center. A founding member of the Platte Valley Players Board of Directors, she has written grants and works on funding for that group. She also was actively involved in the community group that had a vision to create the Armory.
For more information, contact David Gallegos, at dgallegos@ brightonco.gov or 303-655-2176.