Mayor's Awards



James Knapp

James Knapp is the artistic director of Denver Gay Men’s Chorus. With more than 35 years of leading university, church and community choruses, he’s also the artistic director emeritus of Bayou City Performing Art and has received the Certificate of Congressional Recognition from the United States House of Representatives, among other honors. Knapp is a powerful voice in the queer choral movement and is especially passionate about using music as a way to unify, heal and bring people together.



Danielle SeeWalker

Danielle SeeWalker (Húŋkpapȟa Lakȟóta, citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe) is a multi-disciplinary artist, youth mentor and leader in the American Indian community in Denver. Danielle centers much of her art around the Native American community - a population that has been severely misrepresented, underrepresented or not represented at all - thematically depicting American Indian elders and highlighting the two-spirit (LGBTQIA2S+) community through her art. Her work in the arts and her focus on the Native American community have been inspirational and necessary, especially during the pandemic, breaking down stereotypes and microaggressions by accurately displaying Indigenous people as successful, contributing members of our city and society.



The Word | A Storytelling Sanctuary

The Word | A Storytelling Sanctuary is a community-led, Denver-based nonprofit organization that builds cultural equity through the literary arts. The Word’s programs include the annual Editor-Writer Mentorship program, the biennial [margins.] Literary Conference + Book Festival, #MarginsBookselling, the annual BIPOC Bookseller Awards, and a host of year-round community engagement programs and publishing workshops. Each of these programs fills a unique space for The Word’s intersectional constituency of BIPOC+, LGBTQIA2S+, disabled and neurodiverse communities, in which no previous comparable support was available. The Word’s goal is to provide spaces in which its community members embody each and every one of their many facets, and together harness the power of storytelling to move us all toward joyful, vibrant and equitable futures.



Sacred Voices

Sacred Voices is a Denver-based, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC+), youth-focused organization dedicated to promoting unity and healing among BIPOC+ communities through creative expression, while empowering youth to find their voices and strength to become leaders in their communities. Sacred Voices hosts the only youth-focused open mic in town, and conducts culturally engaging spoken word/poetry workshops. The organization also hosts a monthly radio program on KGNU, and the “Speak Your Truth Summer Program” for youth aged 14-25, through which youth strengthen their cultural knowledge, develop leadership skills, engage in creative expression, build a sense of self-identity and heal themselves through culturally responsive mental health and holistic practices.



Gamelan Tunas Mekar

Gamelan Tunas Mekar is an all-volunteer organization that presents traditional and new music for Balinese gamelan locally, nationally and internationally, educating audiences about the music, dance and traditions of Bali and Indonesia. Modeled after typical village groups found throughout Bali, and learning through traditional methods, this community ensemble provides audiences the rare opportunity to experience one of the world’s most beautiful and sophisticated performing arts. Tunas Mekar serves diverse communities across the front range through performances and collaborations of Balinese expressive arts. They perform for the general public and in schools, and partner with Colorado College, University of Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Wyoming in Laramie. The group also performs in support of the Indonesian Consulates in Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston, and at the request of the Ambassador of Indonesia.





Through live and recorded performances and vocational training in many aspects of the entertainment industry, Innervision promotes personal services to aspiring broadcasters with disabilities in the Denver area. Innervision nurtures the talents and skills of local artists from diverse backgrounds while sponsoring concerts, events and weekly radio shows that enrich and educate the entire community. The organization was founded in 1991 by Johnnie W. Johnson and Wayne Turner, two African-American recording industry experts who are both blind. For thirty years, Johnson and Turner have used the power of music to foster education, acceptance and inspiration for artists and audiences alike. Innervision has made broadcasting accessible and recording affordable, and has showcased artists throughout Denver at clubs and festivals, and on television and radio.



Edgar L. Page

Edgar L. Page comes from traditions celebrating the African Diaspora and legacies of Black Modern Dance. Locally, he stewards creative incubators employing the Africanist Aesthetic of Cool to inform a lush amalgamation of contemporary dance movement. He centralizes on storytelling and narration in his work.



Color of Conversation

Floyd and Stephanie Rance have made a mark as innovators in the arts and culture space by highlighting the works of filmmakers of color in Denver and by encouraging major studios and streaming platforms to take the city of Denver seriously as a market for promoting their multi-cultural films. Through Run&Shoot Filmworks, Floyd and Stephanie Rance have produced "The Color Of Conversation," a highly successful film series through which they amplify the voices of the African American, Latino and the LBGTQIA+ community through purposeful conversations and thought-provoking films.



Pop Culture Classroom

Through its Classroom program, Pop Culture Classroom (PCC) works with schools, youth-serving organizations, museums and many other partners to offer innovative arts education programming. This programming includes:

  • Highly customizable workshops that help students learn to make their own comics, board games or cosplay; create fictional worlds and craft narratives; develop targeted skills through playing board games, video games and tabletop role-playing games.
  • Colorful History, a comic series about diverse people and events in Colorado and U.S. history that may not be covered in traditional textbooks.
  • Storytelling Through Comics (STC) and Game On! (GO!), PCC’s two Common Core-aligned curricular units that help teachers, parents, and students understand the educational value of comics and games.
  • Special programs serving targeted populations, such as LEAD (Literacy Education in Adolescent Detention) With Comics, which works with youth in detention facilities, and Connection Through Comics, which works with refugees to tell their stories through comics.


2019 Honorees

Impact Award: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance
Innovation Award: Lisa Engelken
Youth Award: Raquel Garcia
Imagine 2020 Award: Mark Sink
Global Award: Kali Fajardo-Anstine
Imagine 2020 District Challenge Award: Jamie Torres (City Council District 3) and Robin Kniech (At Large)

2018 Honorees

Arts & Culture Impact: Flamenco Fantasy Dance Theatre
Arts & Culture Youth: Art from Ashes
Arts & Culture Innovation: Dorothy Tanner
Arts & Culture Global: El Teatro volARTE – Youth Theatre
IMAGINE 2020: Colorado Ballet & Keya Trujillo-Clairmont
IMAGINE 2020 District Challenge: “Healing Through Art: Cowboy, Rome and Nikki,” Robin Kniech (At Large)

2017 Honorees

Arts & Culture Impact: Mexican Cultural Center
Arts & Culture Youth: Denver Public Schools – Shakespeare Festival
Arts & Culture Innovation: CRUSH
Arts & Culture Global: Clyfford Still Museum
IMAGINE 2020: Irene Vilar
Leadership in the Arts: Floyd Ciruli
IMAGINE 2020 District Challenge: "Community Channels" Art Mural, Stacie Gilmore, District 11

2016 Honorees

Arts & Culture Impact: Huitzilopochtli Azteca Dance
Arts & Culture Youth: Denver Public Library – After School is Cool
Arts & Culture Innovation: Elisa Narizhnaya - Denver Online High School
Arts & Culture Global: Denver Young Artists Orchestra
IMAGINE 2020: Dan Manzanares

2015 Honorees

Arts & Culture Impact: Brenda Tierney
Arts & Culture Youth: Jimmy Bruenger
Arts & Culture Innovation: Phamaly Theatre Company and the Lone Tree Arts Center
Arts & Culture Global: Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave
IMAGINE 2020: Hope Tank and RedLine Contemporary Art Center

2014 Honorees

Arts & Culture Impact Think 360 Arts Complete Education
Arts & Culture Youth: Ryan Culhane
Arts & Culture Innovation: Damon McLeese
Arts & Culture Global: Dr. Christoph Heinrich
Unique Collaborations RedLine’s Educational Partnership Initiative for the Creative (E.P.I.C.) Arts program
In-School Arts: Leslie Draper Roy

1986 - 2013 Honorees

2013: Café Cultura, Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, Garrett Ammon, Darla Rae
2012: Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe, Denver Ballet Guild, Emmanuel Art Gallery
2011: American Indian Galleries, Phil Bender, Veronica Barela
2010: Buntport Theater, The Spirituals Project, Colorado Business Committee for the Arts
2009: Flobots, Museo de las Americas, Access Gallery, Jeffrey Nickelson, ShaShauna Staton
2008: Charles Burrell, Denver Young Artists Orchestra, Su Teatro, The Bloomsbury Review, Noel Congdon
2007: Curious Theatre, The Denver Brass, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Donald Seawell
2006: Fiesta Colorado, PlatteForum, Dianne Perry Vanderlip
2005: Ron Henderson, Daniel and Maruca Salazar, Shadow Theater Company
2004: Lamont School of Music, Dianne Reeves, Gully Stanford
2003: Kathleen A. Brantigan, Colorado Children’s Chorale, Jess E. DuBois
2002: Marin Alsop, Ed Dwight, Gerald Endsley
2001: Denver Taiko, Tina Poe, John Woodward III, M.D.
2000: Jill Irvine Crow, Carol Dickinson, René Heredia, Dotsero
1999: PHAMALy (Physically Handicapped Amateur Musical Actors League, Inc.), Darrell Anderson, Hugh A. Grant
1998: Tony Ortega, Barry Rose, Swallow Hill Music Association, Denver Art Museum
1997: Mary Pat Holliday, Gilpin Extended Day Care, Lorenzo Ramirez/Grupo Folklorico Sabor Latino, The Bluebird Theater, Kaiser Permanente, Jeanette Trujillo, Norman Lockwood
1996: Katy Tartakoff/The Children's Legacy, Reed Weimer and Chandler Romeo, Martin Fredmann, Arthur Parker and Steve Rickard/"Many Faces of Denver", Colorado Latino Dance Festival, Colorado Music Educators Association/Colorado Youth Instrument Drive, June Favre, Andre Aguirre; Natalie Birdow; Heather Meierdierck
1995: Young Audiences Inc., Mattie Springfield, Kim Robards Dance, Lower Downtown Arts District, Rocky Mountain Women's Institute, Emanuel Martinez, TaGana DeCluette, Tory Schneider, Jennifer Henry
1994: Art Students League of Denver, Victoria Aybar, Eric Bertoluzzi, J. Joe Craft, Godsman Elementary/Tim Gianulis, Grupo Tlaloc, Opalanga D. Pugh
1993: Cherry Creek Arts Festival, Denver Gay Men's Chorus, KCNC-TV/NEWS4, Andrew Mendoza, Clara Villarosa
1992: Metropolitan State College of Denver, Center for the Visual Arts, Patricia Sanders-Hall, Colorado Symphony Orchestra's David Abosch Artistic Director, Denver International Film Society, Katherine W. Schomp, James M. Thoeming, Denver School for the Arts, Denver Black Arts Festival, Inc.
1991: no presentation
1990: Angel Mendez-Soto, ArtReach, Denver Public Library Friends Foundation
1989: Nat Merrill and Louise Sherman, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Colorado Lawyers for the Arts
1988: Ed Baierlein/Germinal Stage Denver, Jo Bunton-Keel/Eulipions, Inc., Abelardo Delgado
1987: Duain Wolfe/Colorado Children’s Chorale, Alfred Brooks and Maxine Munt, KUVO Radio
1986: Cleo Parker Robinson's New Dance Theatre, Chicano Humanities and Art Council, Henry Lowenstein/Denver Civic Theatre