Bee Vradenburg Foundation celebrated its 10th anniversary of service to the Pikes Peak region with a grand reception in November at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.
Artists, arts patrons and civic leaders gathered at the FAC's Deco Lounge to reconnect and reminisce before heading into the SaGaJi Theatre for the program.
Foundation Chair George Vradenburg shared memories of his mother, Bee, and related tales about Bee's love of music, art and – most of all – her home of Colorado Springs. Foundation President Phil Kendall told the audience of nearly 200 people that since inception the Bee Vradenburg Foundation has granted nearly $2 million to arts organizations in the region. To celebrate the foundation's anniversary, a surprise grant of $10,000 was awarded to the Peak Arts Fund, a program of COPPeR that collaboratively supports 18 arts organizations. COPPeR Executive Director Christina McGrath happily accepted the check.
The highlight of the evening came when special guest Ben Cameron, program director for the arts at Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, addressed the crowd with a riveting talk about the power of the arts to build social cohesion and understanding. Cameron said culture and communication are in a fundamental turning point and redefinition in society. Cameron conveyed that the arts are an antidote to intractability: ”In the face of competition, we invite cooperation; in the face of simplification, complexity and nuance; in the face of self-reinforcement, community — remembering that whatever else we do, we invite people to come together with others not like ourselves, to view our fellow human beings with generosity and curiosity.”
You can download a full transcript of Cameron's remarks below. We also offer a special thanks to Pikes Peak Library District, which captured Cameron's talk on video.