Our Mission

Access Gallery is an inclusive nonprofit organization that engages the community by opening doors to creative, educational and economic opportunities for people with disabilities to access, experience and benefit from the arts.

Leader in Accessible Arts

As a leader in accessible arts and creating economic opportunity for young people with disabilities in Colorado, Access Gallery (formerly VSA Colorado/Access Gallery) has served the community since 1978. Access Gallery was born as the Colorado branch of VSA, an international nonprofit organization founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith. Nearly five million people with disabilities participate in VSA arts programs each year through affiliate programs in each state and over sixty countries worldwide. Access Gallery was established in 1978 and continues to evolve and thrive as an affiliate of VSA today. Each year, we serve nearly 2,000 adults, people with disabilities and their families.

 

We believe that every young person with a disability deserves access to appropriate arts learning experiences. All art educators should be appropriately prepared to include students with disabilities in their instruction. All children, youth and adults with disabilities should have complete access to community cultural facilities and activities. All individuals with disabilities who aspire to careers in the arts should have the opportunity to develop appropriate skills.

 

Access Gallery is a free gallery located in the heart of Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe at 909 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 80204. Our presence on Santa Fe is a continual reminder of the equalizing power of art, breaking down social barriers and becoming a place where all feel welcome to create, to question, and to learn from each other.

Artist Enrollment Process

Access Gallery in partnership with Easter Seals Colorado serves people with disabilities who are interested in creative, educational, social, and economic opportunities through the arts. We primarily serve individuals who are eligible for Program Approved Services Agency (PASA) based services, Vocational Rehabilitation, and School to Work clients. For those who are not PASA-eligible, admission is determined on a case-by-case basis. Individuals who are interested in participating in our art programs can begin the process by contacting their caseworker or contact us at 303-777-0797 or cris@accessgallery.org to start the process. After the initial intake and if services are a good fit, we will talk about establishing personal goals, as they relate to your involvement in the Access Gallery programs. Spaces can fill up quickly, so please be aware one might have to go on our waitlist.

About The Staff

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Damon McLeese

Executive Director

Damon McLeese has been the Executive Director of Access Gallery for over 20 years and is a speaker, trainer, activist, consultant, coach, mentor, and community artist. Damon specializes in unlocking the creative power of people regardless of their background—teaching those with Alzheimer’s and dementia how to do street art, developing photography projects for the blind, and hiring students with disabilities to create corporate art commissions. Working at the intersection of art and ability, Damon is passionate about opening avenues of community by providing an innovative, collaborative space where all viewpoints can be both shared and valued. In 2019, Damon was an honoree for the Arts and Society Award from Bonfils Stanton Foundation and featured on Channel 4 CBS Denver. He also received the Governor’s Award for Creative Leadership in 2017, as well as the Mayor’s Award for Innovation of the Arts in 2016. Under his leadership, Access Gallery continues to grow and expand exponentially as it increases awareness of the artistic gifts individuals with disabilities have to offer.

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Cris Ciani

Associate Director

Cris has been the Associate Director of Access Gallery for 15 years, and brings her skills in education, nonprofit management and public relations to help people who are living with a disability. Prior to joining Access Gallery, Cris was the Executive Director of Jeffco Volunteer Caregivers, an organization that provides services for seniors and people with disabilities so that they can continue living independently. Cris is a native of Colorado, and attended Columbine High School before double majoring in Speech Communication and Nonprofit Management at the Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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Amy Siegel

Marketing & Sales Specialist

With over 30 years of experience in the corporate realm of design, Amy transitioned into the nonprofit world in January 2020 to work for Access Gallery. Her main focus is marketing, sales, and design. Responsibilities include promoting and increasing art sales of both commissioned-based artwork as well as individual artists. Amy also collaborates with potential corporate and community partners, helping and working to gain both internal and external networks.

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Javier Flores

Studio Artist - Printmaking

Javier was born and raised in Denver, and received his B.F.A. in painting from the Metropolitan State University of Denver and his M.F.A. in printmaking from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He is a visual artist that has worked at Access Gallery for seven years.

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Andre Rodriguez

Studio Artist - Digital Media

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Rebecca Petty

Artist Mentor

Andre has been the tech-savvy Digital Teaching Artist at Access Gallery since 2014. Andre loves art of all mediums and specializes in creating and teaching digital arts, including graphic design and videography.

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Jake Fairly

Teaching Artist - Comics 

All staff portraits were digitally painted by Jocelyn.

Need a new headshot? Portrait commissions are now available upon request! Email amy@accessgallery.org for more information.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS