This award is presented to an individual or organization that has significantly impacted the lives of youth in the City and County of Denver through the arts, or a young person who has made a noteworthy difference in the community through the arts.

Megen Gilman has been a teacher in Denver Public Schools for more than 20 years and has been the Theatre Director at North High School for the past 11 years. When Megen became the Theatre Director at North High School, the program had been all but dismantled because of funding and standardized testing. Leveraging community and student buy-in, North Black Masque Theatre began establishing itself as a cornerstone for performing arts in the north Denver neighborhood. Megen believes that when you give creative freedom and a safe space, all students can be performers. Megen centers much of her work around inclusivity and her BIPOC+ and LQTBQ+ populations, giving a voice to marginalized students. Whether it is in show choice or allowing students to experience the stage regardless of their experience or ability level, all students are encouraged to participate in theater and join the thespian family which, for many of them, is their haven from a sometimes chaotic world.



This award is presented to an individual or organization that is breaking new ground in the arts and whose contribution to innovation in the arts has been significant in 2022 or 2023.

Joshua is a Navajo comedian based in Denver. He is the co-chair of the Denver American Indian Commission, a regular contributor for CityCast Denver, and a founding member of the award-winning comedy troupe and production company, DeadRoom Comedy. Born a biracial, bipolar Gemini, Joshua is a man of duality. He has worked on comedy projects with the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Dairy Arts Center, the Denver Zoo, Comedy Works and the Trinidad Correctional Center. Joshua performs all over the country and has been selected for numerous festivals including Big Pine, 10,000 Laughs and High Plains. He lives at home with his partner, Rachel, and his dog, Lola.



This award is presented to an individual or organization that has focused on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) through their work.

Artist. Curator. Speaker. Public Historian. Chloé Duplessis creates images that illuminate the forgotten, elevate the unknown, and mindfully address the present. In doing so, she seeks to erode the social constructs that oppress people of color and those navigating disability. She is a legally blind artist and culture bearer committed to creating work that centers equity, accessibility and healing. With more than twenty years of experience in intercultural engagement, arts administration and advocacy, she has traveled to nine countries and 24 states in support of her work. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Studies from The University of New Orleans, and studied art and history at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. Duplessis is the creator of Denver's first accessible "I VOTED" sticker and co-creator of the noted Holding Hope mural located in RiNo Art District. Chloé has been featured in The Denver Post, 303 Magazine, Where Y'at Magazine and The Independent, and on Colorado Public Radio, CBS 4 News Denver and NBC 9News Denver. She presents work annually and offers talks on art, accessibility and inclusive design.



This award is presented to an individual or organization that has brought Denver’s arts and culture to the national or world stage. Nominees for this category have received national or international recognition.

Tsogtsaikhan “Tsogo” Mijid was born and raised in the heart of the luminous mountains of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Tsogo graduated with a BFA in traditional Mongolian arts from Mongolian University of Art and Culture (1984) and attained his MFA in Graphic Arts from Shevchenko Art Academy of Ukraine (1990). Tsogo has had numerous solo and select group exhibitions in Mongolia, Hungary, Germany, Russia and the United States. His artworks are owned by the 14th Dalai Lama and the Denver Art Museum, and are included in permanent installations at The Denver Zoo and Meow Wolf Denver. Tsogo is a cultural ambassador and the recipient of “Juuh'' Honorarium appointed by the Mongolian Ministry of Education Culture and Science. In 2009, Tsogo became the first Mongolian artist to design a public sculpture in the United States entitled “Tulga,” located at Ulaanbaatar Park in Denver. Tsogo has been a member of Pirate Contemporary Art Gallery in Denver for twenty years and remains a versatile artist whose different art practices continue to reflect his migratory experiences. He also founded the Mongolian Culture and Heritage Center of Colorado in 2003, the first internationally operated Mongolian arts organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the Mongolian culture, heritage and arts through education. Tsogo continues to be a key figure, merging both Western and Eastern cultures. His art aims to highlight and nurture the underrepresented voices of the Asian American communities living in the United States.



This award is presented to an individual or an organization that has made a significant and lasting impact on arts and culture in the City and County of Denver, with at least 10 years of history in the arts in the City and County of Denver.

Ms. Gillette has been a Denver resident for 52 years. She has been actively involved in the Denver Indian Community by serving on boards of directors, and as speaker, panelist, emcee, and head dancer. She maintains close ties to her familial home in North Dakota by participating in traditional ceremonies and other events. She participates in the Atonement Lutheran Church, the Fort Berthold Native American Church Chapter, and Dead Grass Society. Grace has been the Executive Director for the Denver March Powwow (DMPW) for 33 years. Under her leadership, the DMPW has received many accolades and awards. She is most proud of the DMPW permanent exhibits in the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. She has been blessed by being named in "Who's Who in Denver Business" and was selected as one of “Denver’s 150." Grace was honored to bestow a traditional blessing upon Mayor Hancock at his first inauguration. The American Indian College Fund named her "Elder of the Year." She was inducted into the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame. Ms. Gillette gave the keynote address for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Luncheon which provided an opportunity to share her culture. In the 32 years of the event, she was the second woman and first Native American to be keynote speaker. The National Indian Council on Aging prepared a 11-minute video of her life, “SwaHuux, Following Grandma’s Path,” which is on YouTube. Dance/USA virtually presented her with their Trustee Award in March 2021 for her work in the field of dance.

2023 Awards

Each honoree received a $2500 honorarium and an original work of art created by FuMei Sorteberg.

FuMei Sorteberg started her life in an orphanage in China where she sometimes spent her time drawing. When she came to America, her older sister helped her explore her talent and she later began taking art classes. FuMei enjoys creating art based on the things that she loves, like architecture, nature, animals and even anime. She likes trying new techniques and learning new things. In her free time, she explores photography and travels around the world.