Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs 

The Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs acts as an advisory board to Denver Arts & Venues' cultural affairs department. The Commission is comprised of dynamic and accomplished Denver leaders in the areas of the arts, business and education, all of whom are appointed by the Mayor. The Commissioners are strong advocates for arts and culture, and are committed to the mission and goals of Cultural Affairs and Denver Arts & Venues. Meetings of the Commission are open to the public. They are held on the first Tuesday of every month at 4 p.m. Call 720-865-5553 for details.

The Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs was established in 1991 to support the Mayor and serve as four major roles for Denver Arts & Venues: oversee the 1% for public art program, serve as trustees of Denver’s cultural plan, IMAGINE 2020, advise on arts and cultural issues, and act as ambassadors to the community.

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Chair: Heather Nielsen, Denver Art Museum
Co-Chair: Dan Manzanares, Creative Entrepreneur  
Aisha Ahmad Post, Newman Center for the Performing Arts 
Alfredo Reyes, Latino Cultural Arts Center
Alexis Moore, Urban Planner
Benjamin Chavez, Latino Coalition for Community Leadership
Cortney Stell, Black Cube Nomadic Art Museum 
Damon McLeese, Access Gallery
Dwayne Glapion, Artist/Digital Painter
Elizabeth Macy, MSU Denver
FloraJane DiRienzo, Biennial of the Americas 
Jami Duffy, All in Denver/Youth on Record
Joshua Margolin, 2U, Inc.
Kevin Smith, Denver Film 
Leesly León, Marketing & Communications, Denver Economic Development & Opportunity
Lisa Kennedy, Arts Journalism
Mike McClung, Michael Warren Contemporary
Paola Correa-Nava, Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver 
Rick Acosta, Philanthropy
Sarah Hogan, Barefoot Public Relations 
Stephanie Tavares-Rance, Martha's Vineyard AA Film Festival/Color of Conversation Film Festival 
Stephen Brackett, Flobots Band
Van Schoales, A+ Colorado
Viniyanka Prasad, The Word, A Storytelling Sanctuary


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November MEETING
December 6, 2022
4:00 - 6:00 PM
Virtual: Click here to join the meeting

Chair, Heather Nielsen, Denver Art Museum 

Heather Nielsen is Chief Learning and Engagement Officer at the Denver Art Museum where she champions the importance of art, creativity, access and learning both on campus at the Museum and in community with partners and collaborators. 


Co-Chair, Dan Manzanares, Creative Entrepreneur

Dan is an award-winning literary arts advocate who holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Western Colorado University. He's a founding board member of the nonprofit Sidewalk Poets, and co-founder of Story Quest, a creative business teaching aspiring authors how to use the power of storytelling to unlock their imagination.

Aisha Ahmad-Post, Newman Center for the Performing Arts 

Aisha Ahmad-Post is the Executive Director of the Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Denver. Previously, she was the inaugural Director of the Ent Center for the Arts at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and Producer of Public Programs for The New York Public Library. Prior to her transition to the nonprofit sector, she held positions at Columbia Artists Management and Barrett Vantage Artists.

Alexis Moore, Urban Planner

Alexis Moore, AICP, is an urban planner who is passionate about the intersection of arts and planning. Alexis is active in planning and implementation efforts for the 40 West Arts District and ArtLine project in Lakewood, CO and serves on the Board of Director’s for 40 West Arts.

Alfredo Reyes, Latino Cultural Arts Center

Alfredo was born and raised in Denver to Mexican immigrants, Juventino and Aurora. He is a proud graduate of Denver South High, Colorado College, CU Boulder and UC Santa Cruz, where he spent three years of doctoral studies. Alfredo is currently the Executive Director of the Latino Cultural Arts Center (LCAC), a project he dedicated his first Master’s to conceptualizing. His expertise includes education research, college access, youth development, fundraising and coalition-building, among others. Alfredo enjoys reading, bike riding, rowing, and dabbling in painting with his family and friends. 

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Benjamin Chavez, Latino Coalition for Community Leadership

Courtney Stell, Black Cube

Cortney Lane Stell is the Executive Director + Chief Curator of Black Cube. Previously, she was the Gallery Director at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design and has held an independent curatorial practice focused on contemporary art’s conceptual and material nature. She holds a Master of Arts from the European Graduate School in Switzerland where she is also a PhD candidate.

Damon McLeese, Access Gallery/Arts, Disability and Nonprofit

Working at the intersection of art, ability and creativity Damon is a speaker, trainer, activist, consultant, coach, mentor and community artist.


Dwayne Glapion, Artist/Digital Painter

From portraits, landscapes, florals, and contemporary illustrations, he strives to capture the essence and the emotion of the subject. A self-taught artist, who has worked with traditional media: Conte, Acrylic, Oil, etc. Dwayne now specializes in merging traditional art techniques with digitally-based applications. This gives him unparalleled freedom to explore and experiment artistically. After teaching art K-12 Dwayne embraced technology and uses it as a teaching tool for children - an important part of his artistic mission. In June 2018 he became a Corel Painter feature Artist. Dwayne Glapion earned a Bachelor's degree from the Art Institute of Colorado in Graphic Design after serving in the military.  

Elizabeth Macy, MSU Denver

Elizabeth (Liz) McLean Macy (she/her/hers) holds a PhD in Ethnomusicology from UCLA, an MA in Ethnomusicology from UC Riverside, and a BA in Music from Colorado College. Her current and ongoing research focuses on Balinese performing arts; much of her work is in collaboration with her long-time mentor, colleague, and friend, Bapak I Made Lasmawan. In her current position as Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Metropolitan State University of Denver, Liz serves as Area Coordinator of Musicology and the department’s Global Music Ensembles. In Summer 2020 she developed a Visiting Artist Series on Music, Race, and Social Justice, which highlights the work of BIPOC musicians, performers, and scholars. Liz teaches courses on music and culture, global popular musics, and Black music in the United States, performs with Denver community ensemble Gamelan Tunas Mekar, and loves time on the trails with her dog, Fritza. 


FloraJane DiRienzo, Biennial of the Americas

FloraJane DiRienzo is currently serving as the Interim Executive Director of the Biennial of the Americas. She is passionate about the power of art and culture to bring people and community together. She is Vice President of the Board of the Directors for Levitt Pavilion and serves on the Denver7 Colorado Advisory Committee.

Joshua Margolin, 2U Inc.

Joshua Margolin (he/him/his) is an educational coach and academic advisor with 2U, Inc. He supports graduate students earning degrees in licensed clinical psychology and acts as a liaison with the company’s Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee (DISC). Josh is also a Restorative Justice facilitator with The Conflict Center. Aside from volunteering, he enjoys reading, podcasts, writing and reciting slam poetry, riding his bicycle, rollerblading (inline), indoor bouldering, video games, Jiu-Jitsu, improv, and ancient mythology. 

Leesly León, Marketing & Communications, Denver Economic Development & Opportunity

Leesly currently works for Denver Economic Development & Opportunity as part of the marketing and communications team. Previously, she worked as the Director of Communications for the Mayor’s Office of the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative, Public Information Coordinator for RTD FastTracks, and Continuing Education Coordinator at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Currently, she serves on the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs, is a member of LatinasGive!, co-chairs the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for the Women in Transportation Seminar – Colorado Chapter, and volunteers at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Leesly is originally from Peru, holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and is fluent in Spanish, English, and French; she is active in the community, equity initiatives, and is familiar with CCD policies specifically related to transportation and economic development.


Lisa Kennedy, Arts Journalism, Film & Theatre

Longtime journalist Lisa Kennedy writes on popular culture, race and gender among other topics. The former Denver Post film and theater critic returned to Denver from New York City by way of Phoenix in 2003. Before returning, she held high-level editor posts at Out, Us and the Village Voice. A member of the National Society of Film Critics and the African American Film Critics Association, she has been a juror for the American Film Institute’s Top Movies, Film Independent’s Spirit Awards and the Gotham Awards. She has also been a juror for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. She has taught adult enrichment courses in criticism at the University of Denver and teaches writing at Lighthouse Writers Workshop.

Mike McClung

Mike McClung, Michael Warren Contemporary

Mike co-owns Michael Warren Contemporary and has produced over 100 exhibits. As an artist and a writer, he is active the city’s art community. Mike currently serves as president of the Denver Art Dealers Association.

Paola Correa Nava, Cultural Arts Specialist, Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver

I'm Paola Correa-Nava a Mexican dreamer and cultural art specialist. I aspire to be an art ambassador who embraces all art and makes it more accessible to everyone. Its my first year as a commissioner and I'm very thankful to be apart of DCCA.

Rick Acosta, Philanthropy

After a career in communications and cable programming creation and distribution, Rick turned his attention to our community’s arts and culture life force.  He’s lead several nonprofit organizations as an executive and board member.  He pledges to support the Commission and its valuable work.

Sarah Hogan, Barefoot Public Relations

Sarah Hogan (she/her/hers) is Barefoot PR’s resident word nerd and co-founder. Sarah has channeled her lifelong passion for storytelling into a career in PR and community investment. She leads Barefoot PR’s Research-Based Messaging work and contributes to the strategy we build for nonprofits, government agencies and community-minded businesses. When she is not at work, you can find Sarah reading long articles on her iPad, listening to podcasts, championing Denver’s creative community or building Legos with her son Andrew. 

Stephanie Tavares-Rance, Martha's Vineyard AA Film Festival/Color of Conversation Film Festival 

Founded in 2002, the Run&Shoot Filmworks, academy award accredited Martha's Vineyard AA film festival is one of the premiere film festivals in the country. Recognized for their impeccable selection of films, premiere screenings, and welcoming environment, Floyd and Stephanie have made a lasting mark in the entertainment industry. 


Viniyanka Prasad, The Word, A Storytelling Sanctuary

Viniyanka Prasad is the Executive Director and Founder of The Word, A Storytelling Sanctuary, a nonprofit organization fighting for equity and inclusion in the literary arts. To learn more visit