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Meet Our People

Art
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Damon McLeese

Executive Director

Damon specializes in unlocking the creative power of people and organizations regardless of their background, bridging the gap between creativity and community in corporate settings, classrooms, and within individual artists. Damon has been the Executive Director of the nonprofit Access Gallery since 1998.

 

Damon was the recipient of the 2014 Mayor's Award for Innovation in the Arts and was a speaker at the 2016 TEDx Mile High “Make and Believe” event. In 2017, Damon received the prestigious Governor’s Award for Leadership in the Arts, and in 2019, he was named the Bonfils Stanton Arts and Society Awardee.

 

Damon’s work forces us to look at ability and creativity differently. His past work includes photography for people who are blind, teaching Street Art to people with Alzheimer's and Dementia, and hiring students with disabilities to create corporate art.

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Cris Ciani

Associate Director/Client Services

Cris Ciani has been with Access Gallery in various roles since the early 2000s. In 2017 she was promoted to Associate Director. She enjoys helping those that are living with a disability by creatively using her skills in education, nonprofit management, and public relations.

Before 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 in their homes. Born and raised in Colorado,  attended Columbine High School before double majoring in Speech Communication and Nonprofit Management at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. She has received several awards for her work including the Lucille Weiss Memorial Award for Education. Cris was also recognized for completion of the Aesthetic Education Institute of Colorado at the University of Denver’s education academic program. She served for a year in the AmeriCorps Vista volunteer program. 

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Amy Siegel

Director of Creative Services

With over 30 years of experience in the corporate realm of design, Amy happily transitioned into the nonprofit world in January 2020 to work for Access Gallery, where she directs Access Gallery’s Creative Services Department, building relationships with corporate, nonprofit, and government clients, and providing art direction to our talented team of artists. At Access Gallery, Amy also leads the graphic design cohort and provides creative vision for  marketing and branding. 

She was previously a Senior Graphic Designer for Gensler, a global design firm focused on improving the human experience through the power of design. In 2017, Amy received the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Colorado Fellow award, which recognizes designers who have made a significant contribution to raising the standards of excellence in practice and conduct within their local or regional design community. Outside of her work at Access Gallery, Amy works in paper collage, mixed medium, encaustic and encaustic monotypes on a hot box.

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Kari Hess

Director of Operations

After a career in art education, Kari has turned her focus towards arts administration in order to build inclusive and accessible arts beyond the classroom walls. Her objective is to facilitate spaces in which people feel empowered, supported, and safe to explore their own creative endeavors. With a BS in Art Education and an MA in Arts and Culture Management, she found a great fit as Access Gallery's Director of Operations. 


Kari's personal art practice is based in a multitude of media, including pen, ink, watercolor, charcoal, ceramics, and paper cutting. She explores the complex relationships between the self, the environment, and the psyche throughout her work.

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Louis Trujillo

Gallery Manager

Louis’s passion for Access Gallery comes from the connections he gets to make with the artists, whose talent and resiliency inspire him every day. Louis has a BFA with a concentration in drawing from Metropolitan State University. Since graduation he has worked as a visual artist, showing locally at Museo De Las Americas, McNichols Civic Center, Dairy Arts Center, and Redline Contemporary Art Center. Previously he worked as Public Relations Director at SYNC Gallery and in Member Services at Art Gym Denver. 

 

Identity is the recurring theme of Louis’s work, in which he explores gender identity through photorealistic colored pencil drawings, the unconscious through suspended clay sculptures, and family history through paper

flower installations.

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Sarah Darlene

Studio Manager

Since moving to Denver, Sarah has collaborated with dozens of nonprofits to bring arts education and wellness programs to various communities across Colorado. She holds a BFA in Painting and Drawing from Louisiana State University, and an Executive Certificate of Nonprofit Management from the University of Notre Dame. She studied at the New York Studio School under painter Graham Nickson in 2010 and became a member of Strangers Art Collective in Santa Fe, NM, in 2015. From 2020 to 2022 Sarah served as an Artist in Residence at RedLine Contemporary Art Center in Denver, where she participated in social justice arts programming in schools and

community centers. 

 

In addition to her work at Access Gallery, she also teaches meditative painting classes with partners such as the Denver Art Museum. In her own work Sarah explores the functionality of abstraction in self-transformation and healing, primarily through painting and some other materials. Her process is rooted in body awareness, femininity, and queer identity. 

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Andre Rodriguez

Digital Studio Manager

Andre Rodriguez educates artists in becoming more proficient in graphic design, video editing, and other digital arts, including 3D modeling and printing. Stemming from an interest in empowering underrepresented youth, Andre began working with Access Gallery in 2019, at the dawn of the digital art lab, and has been growing with the organization ever since. Outside of digital art, Andre has designed and created numerous murals and street art projects both for Access Gallery and in collaboration with other local artists.

Jayne Goodman, Development Manager

Jayne Goodman

Development & Outreach Manager

Jayne joined Access Gallery in November 2022, bringing experience as a grantmaker, educator, and practicing artist. Jayne received her MFA in Emergent Digital Practices from University of Denver and previously served as an Arts Program Officer with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where she led grantmaking efforts in cities across the US. She is adjunct faculty at University of Denver's college of continuing and professional studies where she teaches art interpretation and other courses related to communication arts and digital culture. She serves on the board of Leon Gallery and Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF).

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Michael Agyepong

Studio Assistant

Michael was born and raised in Colorado and studied at the University of Denver, achieving a bachelors in studio art. Michael is currently a studio assistant at Access Gallery and volunteers with nonprofit arts organizations around the Denver Metro Area.

Board Members

Carolina Cara

President

Jeff Russell 

Allison Galgiani

Treasurer

Donna Baker-Breningstall

Nicky Alden

Secretary

Aliki McCain

Immediate Past President

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