Governor's Creative Leadership Awards

Program Summary

The Governor's Creative Leadership Awards recognize individuals that have demonstrated significant support or participation in activities statewide to advance the value of the creative industries in Colorado communities. Nominations are accepted under the following categories:

  • Arts and creative placemaking: Honors individuals who use the arts to envision new futures through activities such as activating a public space, animating a community or sparking redevelopment.
  • Arts and community action: Presented to individuals who work to solve critical social problems, have demonstrated selfless service, and have taken action to catalyze change in their community using the arts.
  • Arts and advocacy: Honors individuals who work to advance economically vibrant, healthy, and equitable communities by ensuring that arts, culture and the creative industries and its workforce are valued and supported through policy, research, civic engagement, professional services and access. 

Nominations for the 2025 awards will be open in summer of 2024.


Type: Award

For: Community members that support the creative industries

Application deadline: Nominations currently open

OEDIT division: Colorado Creative Industries


  • Nominees must be a Colorado resident.
  • Nominations may be submitted by Colorado residents or a Colorado based organization or business. 
  • Selected awardees are invited to attend the Governor's Creative Leadership Award ceremony on May 1st or 2nd (TBD) in Grand Junction.

Online Nomination Submission
Nominations must be completed online through our Salesforce grants portal, and include a nomination letter (2 page maximum) and work samples. Log in to your account or create a new account. We recommend that you print and keep a copy of your nomination for your records.

Written Nomination
The nomination shall be made in a letter (not to exceed two typed pages in a Microsoft Word document) describing the unique way the nominee has demonstrated a significant commitment to Colorado's creative landscape through civic leadership and volunteerism including advocacy, vision, collaboration, or innovation in one of the categories described above. Be sure to briefly address your relationship with the nominee.

Work Samples
You must provide work samples that demonstrate the excellence and impact of the nominee's work. Work samples may include press clippings, photos, video or audio samples, letters of support, or printed programs. You are limited to 3 items. An "item" may be an audio file, video file, a single web link, a PDF, a Word document, an Excel document. All of the items must be uploaded into the online grant system.

  • Limit work sample upload formats to Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point, Adobe PDF, mp4, mp3 or .jpg with a maximum file size for each item of 1 GB (gigabytes).
  • If you have an existing audio or video file online (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo or SoundCloud), hyper-linking to the website might be more convenient than uploading into your application.

Nomination Checklist

  • Completed online in our Salesforce grants portal
  • Nomination letter (maximum of 2 pages)
  • Work Samples (up to 3 items)

A selection committee will review materials based on the review criteria and select a list of finalists to be submitted to Governor Polis, who will make the final award selection in each award category. All applicants will be notified via email of results.

The winners will be announced during the Governor's Creative Leadership Awards ceremony at the Creative Industries Summit  May 1st or 2nd, 2025 (TBD) in the Grand Junction Creative District.


Past Winners

Governor's Creative Leadership Awards - Past Awardees

Grace Gillette - Arts and Advocacy
Tom Shepard - Arts and Community Action Award
Cynthia Ramu - Arts and Creative Placemaking Award
Andrea Rabold - Arts and Social Change
Michael Paglia - Arts and Creative Placemaking
Ed Dwight - Lifetime Achievement
Ann Lukacs - Arts and Community Action Award
Mary Hockenbery
Kennedy Pugh 
Chrissy Deal 
Amy Kimberly
Evan Weissman
Tony Garcia 
Rodney Wood
Armando Silva
Wayne Gilbert
Damon McLeese 
Maryo Ewell
Aaron Abeyta 
Maureen Hearty
Francisco Nevarez Burgueno
Tim Schultz
Jessica Cooney
Lissette Riviere 
Don Richmond 
Dean Coombs
Curt Bean
Walt Pourier


Program Manager

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