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We’ve Changed – for the Better!

It is crystal clear moving into 2018. 

A letter from our Executive Director.


Dear Friend,

As I sit here at the gallery closing in on the end of another year, I was reflecting on how much can change and yet how much can stay the same in one year. This year has been one of tremendous change for the organization; yet we have kept the same welcoming, creative haven for our artists.

Our artists – like Nicole – may not realize there is much change in the air. She noticed that she is painting her signature dragons in a slightly different place but her day-to-day activity has not changed. As her passion for painting dragons in various Denver settings carries on, she continues to build her artistic voice.

The change in the organization that Nicole or any of the other ArtWorks artists may not see is that we have completely stripped down to the basics of who we are and what we do. VSA Colorado has become Access Gallery. We have a new look with a new mission– the goal of economic opportunity for young people with disabilities has become our central goal.

Just as Nicole has a hyper-focused interest in dragons, we have a hyper-focused interest in supporting her both creatively but also – perhaps more importantly – financially. The impetus for much of the organizational change came when we realized the biggest challenge facing Nicole is not her disability; it is the fact that she comes from a poor family and as a young person with a disability, she is looking at a job market with 70% unemployment.

As is often the case, when you boil something down to its essence it becomes crystal clear. Access Gallery is not in the business of making employees through job training programs, we are in the business of making jobs. Jobs for creative people like Nicole.

By supporting Access Gallery with a gift today, you help make a world where painting dragons is a job for Nicole.

We are thrilled at the progress we’ve seen in Nicole and her fellow artists, artistically and more importantly personally. While not everyone can or should paint dragons for a job, we are committed to finding a path for all of our artists to increase economic opportunities through their creativity, their passion and quite frankly their desire to work. We have expanded our ArtWorks program to include everything from our personal pet portrait commissions to our corporate art program, using a company’s collateral material to build unique pieces of art.

Even with all this clarity there is much to do and much you can help us with. We want to unlock the creative talents within each of our artists. We need your support– as a mentor, as a donor, as a customer. But most of all, we need you to come see what is new at Access Gallery.


Thank you for making this work possible.


Damon McLeese
Executive Director


PS: Make a year-end contribution of $100+ and join our #HaveASeat campaign! You sponsor a new chair and an artist will decorate it in your honor. This brings needed supplies into the gallery and creates a funky addition to our space! Click here to make a donation now.