Executive Director, Access Gallery

Damon McLeese

Damon McLeese joined the Foundation’s Board in April 2022. He is the Executive Director of Access Gallery where he has served for over 25 years. Damon is also 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. 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.

A Denver native, he holds a master’s degree in nonprofit management and leadership from Regis University and a bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State College. Prior to his time at Access Gallery, Damon worked for Colorado Special Olympics, Easterseals Colorado and was the first director of the City of Aurora Volunteer Center where he worked with the Points of Light Foundation. In 2002, he was elected as the Region 8 Advisory Council Representative to the Very Special Arts National Office.

Damon received 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, he received the prestigious Governor’s Award for Leadership in the Arts, and in 2019, Damon was named the Bonfils Stanton Foundation’s Arts and Society Awardee.