Excellence in Arts Awards


The Brighton Excellence in Arts Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 awards.  These cultural arts champions will be honored at a reception on Monday, October 21, 2019 at 6:30 pm at Eagle View Adult Center. The Excellence in Arts Awards are funded by the Brighton Cultural Arts Commission, Lodging Tax, and SCFD.  The awards reception is open to the public, and we encourage you to come and honor our recipients:

When Helen Rodriguez was the Special Events Coordinator for the City of Brighton, she had a vision of special events for all ages, and as a result of Helen’s foresight and hard work many of our yearly activities were begun.  The Festival of Lights, Summerfest, Eggstravaganza, and the Concerts in the Park were all a part of Helen’s vision.  She was also instrumental in the restoration of the award winning Brighton Armory Performing Arts Center where she became the Operations Manager responsible for managing staff, booking, promotions, marketing, logistics, and every day duties.  In 2011 Helen was appointed manager of the newly created Office of Arts and Culture where she worked with  community members to develop the Cultural Strategic Plan and an amazing Arts and Culture website.  Helen Rodriguez left a legacy of on-going accomplishments in the Brighton cultural arts community.

Judee is an incredible artist recognized nationally for her distinctive style of painting whether it be a portrait of a beloved pet, a proud Native American chief, or a child in Uganda, she depicts the beauty of our world. When one walks into the Adams County Government Center, the Brighton Kaiser Permanente Office Building, or the Colorado State Capital, Judee’s works are on prominent display.  When the City of Brighton moved out of the building at 36 S. Main St, Judee had a vision of creating a “cultural incubator” for a collection of Colorado artists, and that vision became Main Street Creatives. Main Street Creatives has ten studios where artists of various mediums work in view of the public.  Judee also owns and operates the Art Academy of Colorado out of this building and offers classes in various forms of paintings and sculpting.  Art salons and artist receptions are also a part of the activities at Main Street. In addition to her work locally, Judee and her husband have a non-profit formed to help orphans and widows in Uganda and Rwanda.  Even though Judee paints in galleries throughout the West, we are proud that she calls Brighton home. 

As the owner of Dancer’s Edge Dance Studio in downtown Brighton, Nichole’s heart lies with teaching dance to the young and the young at heart. As one of the parents of a young dancer said, “Ms. Moots and her staff inspire our youth, push them to try, fail and get back up and try again. It gives them a place to express themselves. The pride you see on these children’s faces is exceptional.” At Dancer’s Edge Nichole and her staff teach ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, lyrical, poms,  dance team, yoga and hula. She might not stand in front of a traditional classroom with chalk in hand, but Nichole Moots teaches our youth to enjoy dance and thus to enjoy life.

After graduating from Brighton High School, Jerry went on to study fine arts at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He now lives outside our community; however, his work is seen not only in Brighton but across the United States and in Mexico. He is a fine artist, sculptor, and jeweler, but Jerry is probably most known for his murals.  In 1973 he painted his first mural at Montoya Park and has since created the largest indoor mural in Colorado: La Familia Cosmica is 17’ x 75’. His work can be seen at the Adams County Assessor’s Office, U. S. West, United Steelworkers Union, the University of Colorado and at Benedict Park where one will find Aquarius, a monumental sculpture. In the seventies Jerry knew first hand that it was very hard for Latino artists to find a place to show their artwork so he co-founded the Chicano Humanities & Arts Council from which he was honored with a Life Work Achievement Award. It is now time for Jerry to receive this honor from his home town.

Sandie is the epitome of one who has the spirit of giving.  In addition to being a very talented artist herself with her feather pieces on display throughout the community, she donates many hours each month volunteering for Brighton’s arts community.  Since the inception of the Eye for Art Program, Sandie has helped in many capacities.  She has checked in new pieces, placed the artwork, helped at the reception by setting out food and checking in guests, and then taking down and tagging the artwork so that it goes back to its owner at the end of the show. Sandie has also been instrumental in the success of Main Street Creatives. She has helped to get the gallery ready for shows and receptions.  She also helps with Artfest at the Armory, Art in the Park, and serves on the Brighton Cultural Arts Commission and the Excellence in Arts Committee.  Sandie loves being a volunteer, and Brighton has benefitted from her time and talents.

Kelly is a tireless champion of theater arts in Brighton. She has been the Artistic Director of Platte Valley Players since 2008. Her devotion to quality entertainment has earned her a Henry Award in 2011 for “The Music Man” and a nomination for “A Little Night Music.”  “The Nina Variations” which she directed was selected to represent the region at the National Theatre Festival in Minnesota. Kelly seeks plays that enrich the public’s interest in the classics such as “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” and “The Diary of Ann Frank.”  Her most recent production “Best of Enemies” was a coup for a local theater company.  One of her nominators stated that “while she is demanding and has high standards of performance, one of Kelly’s greatest gifts is giving people the confidence to shine on without feeling intimidated.  She takes time with cast and crew, remembering that they are human beings first and performers second.”  We can look forward to this year’s season including “Alice in Wonderland,” “South Pacific,” “Wedding Singer,” “ A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” and “Ring of Fire.” Thank you, Kelly, for bringing Broadway to Brighton.

We don’t often see Andy Bergey in front of the camera since he is busy preparing video coverage, designing, and coordinating the production of all filming for the City of Brighton and Brighton’s Channel 8. In addition to filming City Council meetings and other public forums, Andy is instrumental in giving our residents, as well as those who watch You Tube, a visual picture of our cultural arts scene.  His videos which include interviews with artists and shots of their art pieces are used for promotional purposes showcasing all that the Brighton cultural arts community has to offer. Whenever one turns on Channel 8, there is always programming that appeals to a wide audience.  But Andy does so much more than his work in Brighton.  He has written scrips for a number of films and is currently finishing up his first feature-length script. Andy is a singer/songwriter who has recorded 13 CD’s and a soon to be released Christmas CD as well as creating and curating the Classic Bubblegum Music Home Page from 1999-2015. And this is not all.  Andy Bergey is a master of many performing arts.


2016 Excellence in Arts Award Winners

The Brighton Cultural Arts Commission is pleased to announce the “cultural arts champions” in our community who will be recognized with the Excellence in Arts Awards. These individuals were recognized at the Brighton Excellence of Arts Ceremony on Monday, October 10, 2016 at Eagle View Adult Center.

Master of Fine Arts:

Open to photographers, painters, potters, sculptors, jewelry designers, and authors.

Kathy Wardle is a multi-talented artist excelling as a graphic artist, painter, and photographer and is known most notably for her sculptures. In addition to her bronze "Sandpaper Track" in front of the Armory, Kathy's work is part of the public art in Thornton and Frederick.

Kathy's vision is "to create public sculptures that communicate to the observer a moment in that that would capture the essence in the collective memory of a community." 

Kathy is co-owner of a gallery in Lafayette and serves on several arts-related committees within Brighton such as Eye for Art, Cultural Arts Commission, and the Downtown Partnership

Master of Fine Arts


Open to an individual, group, or business who has helped form the Brighton cultural scene

Ron Ames is "never one to shy away from rolling up his sleeves and getting to work." Ron has been active in Brighton's cultural scene for many years, and he realized that even though there are many cultural arts-related activities going on, there was not a cohesive, guiding vision for all the programs. As a result, Ron led a small group of interested community members and wrote a very comprehensive Cultural Strategic Plan which has laid the groundwork for community involvement, planning, funding, and structure for the Arts and Culture movement in Brighton. Ron devotes countless hours serving on various cultural arts committees including the Adams County Cultural Council, Brighton Cultural Arts Commission, Art Awareness Committee, Eye for Art, and the Lodging Tax


Beyond Brighton:

Open to an individual, group, or business from outside our community who has brought ideas to Brighton

Benna Harris served for many years as a member of the Brighton Cultural Arts Commission where she paved the way for permanent, public art installations. She was the chairperson for the selection committees for the sculptures at Historic City Hall, the Recreation Center, Bridge Street at North Elementary School, The Armory, Downtown Brighton on North Main, and most recently the kinetic sculpture which will be installed this winter on 1st Avenue. Benna knows art and has a great understanding of various techniques and is able to empower others with knowledge to make decisions concerning public art installations.

Beyond Brighton

Youth in the Arts: 

Open to an individual, group, or business who has offered some form of creative arts to the youth within our community.

Linda Bau has been the music teacher at Southeast Elementary school for 40 years. In her words, "Music takes students to a different place. It provides them with confidence and self-esteem; it gives them opportunities to work on a team while making a commitment to others and to a successful performance." Every year Linda teaches from 500-600 students every week and ensures that every student has the opportunity to perform in a special program. She has been a role model for many of her students who have gone on to major in music in college and then to perform professionally. She has inspired the gift and appreciation of music, dance, and performance into thousands of students.

Youth in Arts

Art in the Community: 

Open to an individual, group, or business who has encouraged public art or cultural experience in Brighton

Sherry Chance is a gifted photographer who has shared her passion for photography with the Brighton High School drama program. Her expression of art is seen at all the drama productions with her cast photos, head shots, and show photos. Furthermore, she edits and packages these photos on CD's in beautiful theme-based cases that are sold at the shows as a fundraiser. Sherry’s work is showcased in the lobby of Brighton High School, on the drama department's Facebook page, and on a website. Due to her connection with the drama department's seniors, she has taken many of their senior pictures for little to no cost.

Art in the Community

2015 Excellence in Arts Award Winners

The Brighton Cultural Arts Commission  announced the winners for the first Excellence in Arts Awards.   Brighton’s vibrant and growing cultural arts community prompted the  Commission to create the Excellence in Arts Awards to celebrate  individuals and groups within Brighton who are cultural arts  "champions".  

Winners were recognized  at the Brighton Excellence in Arts Ceremony on October 12, 2015 at The Eagle  View Adult Center, 1150 Prairie Center Parkway in Brighton.

Special thanks to the Brighton Lodging Tax for their financial support of this program  

The Excellence in Arts Awards winners include the follow recipients:

Art in the Community:
ndividual, group, or business who has encouraged public art of a cultural experience in Brighton.

Laurie Lozano-Maier
The Art in the  Community Award was presented to Laurie Lozano-Maier.  The popular Eye  for Art program showcases original artwork within Brighton City  Hall. Lozano-Maier has been the inspiration behind the program.  Since  its inception in 2011, thirteen different exhibits have been displayed  throughout City Hall.  Lozano-Maier is the program organizer, she  designs and directs placement of all show pieces, she is curator of each  show and maintains the inventory and catalogue of all art pieces, as  well as the marketing of artists and sales.  She goes above and beyond  to showcase the fine art of hundreds of amateur and professional artists  from Brighton and the surrounding region.


Youth in the Arts:
ndividual, group, or business who has offered some form of creative arts activity to the youth within our community.

Jane Archuleta
For the  past 23 years, recipient Archuleta has been the drama teacher at  Brighton High School. Through educational and artistic guidance, she has  provided thousands of students and community members with the  opportunities to participate in quality theatrical productions.  Many of  her students have gone on to pursue theater in college and/or community  theater or have pursued professional careers in the theater.  Under her  artistic guidance the Brighton High School productions are always of  high quality, which generates visible excitement of the students at each show. Archuleta is a role model, leader, mentor and friend of the Arts  in Brighton for our youth in Brighton.


Master of Performing Arts:
Individuals or groups who are film makers, dancers, author/actresses, directors, or musicians.

Phil “Armonico” Trujillo
Recipient  Trujillo has lived in Brighton since 1943, moving here when he was  five.  At the age of six he played the violin, at the age of ten he was  playing the guitar, by age 17 he started his own band and for the next  58 years he was recognized as one of the most respected and talented  Latin singers, guitarists and band leaders in Colorado.  Trujillo and  the Matadors have played for hundreds of thousands of events through the  years.  He was recognized for his contributions to Hispanic Culture as  an honorary member of “Quien es Quien”.  He retired in 2013 but his  legacy continues in the Brighton.


Individual, group, or business who has helped to form the Brighton cultural scene.

Mark Humbert and Allison Lockwood
An arts community thrives when it has the support of its local printed media.  Brighton is fortunate to have recipients Humbert  and Lockwood who provide Local Color Magazine. Local Color supports the arts in virtually all forms. The magazine profiles various artists and their art and features programs and events in the monthly  publications. Humbert and Lockwood have a vision for the arts in the  Brighton community and are actively involved in organizations where they  can make an impact. They are visible to the public and are often found talking to citizens, sharing information and making ideas into realities. Local Color magazine premiered in 2005 and continues to be a vibrant magazine for the Brighton community.


Beyond Brighton:
Individual, group, or business from outside of our community who has brought ideasto Brighton.

Kat McCusker 
Recipient McCusker lives in Northglenn but she spends more time in  Brighton pursuing her passion of music.  McCusker has been part of the Brighton music scene since 1987.  Her association as the conductor of the popular String Colors performing group became a long term relationship with Brighton. Along with Bonnie Simcox and Marlys Harp,  McCusker helped form Brighton Music. Although the choir is no longer  together, more than 50 musicians perform in various bands ranging from Brighton Music Orchestra, Brighton Brass, Brighton Jazz, Woodworks, Trill Seekers and String Colors. McCusker believes in the power of music and works diligently to provide Brighton and the surrounding communities with quality performances.


Master of Fine Arts:
Photographers, painters, potters, sculptures, jewelry designs, and authors. 

Main Street Creatives
The Main Street Creative Studios held their grand  opening on July 16, 2011 as an arts incubator in downtown Brighton. The  group led by nationally known artists Judee Dickinson and Kim Shacklee are joined by 25 additional artists at the art gallery and artist studios. Various artists work daily at the Creatives.The Art Academy of Colorado housed at the location also provides a teaching component to the  overall artistic program through which many of the resident artists  teach in a variety of classes using different mediums and methods.  Main Street Creatives was chosen as the recipient of the Master of Fine Arts  Award because of the collective work being performed by master artists  in Brighton.