Champion of the Arts Award

2019 - Compliments by Tish Collins and Mary MansfieldAnnual Champion of the Arts

Cultural groups, organizations, and local citizens nominate Grand Junction businesses and individuals for this honor to recognize their generosity, dedication, promotion, and support of the arts, and the award winners are selected by the Commission on Arts and Culture. The awards to these recipients are artwork by local artists.

In the fall of each year, the Commission on Arts and Culture invites nominations for the two annual Champion of the Arts Awards. The awards are given to one Grand Junction business (located within the city limits) or organization, and one individual who/epitomizes leadership, generosity, and dedication towards arts and culture. The selection criteria are:

  • A consistent and ongoing commitment to support, sustain and promote arts and culture/artists/arts organizations
  • Financial donations and underwriting support and/or generous in-kind professional support and assistance
  • Extensive volunteer time and continued, sincere, above-and-beyond involvement (for individuals).
  • The above criteria may not be part of the job description of the nominee
  • Self-nominations will not be accepted
  • The deadline for preliminary nominations is October 8 by 5 pm
  • Deadlines for finalists nominations is November 3 by 5:00pm

Call For Artists 

The Arts Commission will purchase 2 original works of art and present them as the awards for Champion of the Arts. Submissions will be considered until November 5, 2021 by 12:00pm.

  • Open to all Mesa County artists
  • Value of the artwork should no exceed $500 per piece
  • Artwork should have broad, general appeal
  • Pieces may be 3D or 3D
  • Appropriate for indoor display in a business, office, or home
  • Completed pieces: properly mounted and framed only
  • A limit of two pieces may be submitted


Congratulations to the 2021 Champion of the Arts Award Winner

Each year, the Commission on Arts and Culture invites nominations for the annual Champion of the Arts awards. This year, one individual was selected because of their volunteerism, and dedication to arts and culture, and was recognized at The Grand Junction Centennial Band's Christmas Concert at The Avalon Theatre.

2021 Winner

The Grand Junction Commission on the Arts awards the 2021 Champion of the Arts award to Gary Ambrosier!

Congratulations to the following local artists whose artwork was purchased as the awards:

  • Charles Morris with his painting titled, "Spring Comes to the San Juans"

About the 2021 Winner

Beginning as a teacher, he served as the band director at Central High School for 15 years where he taught AP music theory, Jazz Bands, Marching, Concert, and Symphonic bands, along with swimming. He left teaching for administrative work and became the assistant principal at Mount Garfield Middle School. He ended his teaching career as the Music Supervisor for District 51. Gary also taught trumpet, marching band techniques, and Water Safety throughout a 20 year period for Colorado Mesa University. A man of limitless energy, he also devoted time to community activism and involvement. For 14 years, he spent every Thursday evening - and many hours in between - as the director of the Grand Junction Centennial Band. He was instrumental in organizing the Colorado Music Adjudicator Association 25 years ago and has stayed involved to this day where he is currently serving as president. He also continues to live out his passion for working with honor bands and students through involvement in the Colorado Music Educators Association, which included serving on the board for several years as Instrument Chair. He served a year as president of the Colorado Bandmasters Association and for 5 years as the Jazz Chairman. He continues to volunteer with music programs locally and across the state. He has been a long-time teacher of CPR/First Aid and AED for the American Heart Association. He volunteers with St. Mary’s Hospital and his church, and can always be found helping out his many friends with their projects. In addition to all of this, he served six years on the Arts & Culture Commission. 

Group of people holding a painiting

Past Champion of the Arts Award Winners

  • 1994 - Norwest Bank (Wells Fargo Bank)
  • 1995 - First Federal Savings Bank and Frame Works and Gallery
  • 1996 - Hoskin, Farina, Aldrich and Kampf and Haining Plumbing and Heating
  • 1997 - City Market and Taco John's (12th Street)
  • 1998 - Home Loan and Investment, Elite Expressions, and Grand Cleaners
  • 1999 - Energy Air Drilling Company and Picture This
  • 2000 - Elam Construction, Inc. and Working Artists Studio
  • 2001 - Alpine Bank and Planet Earth and the 4 Directions Gallery
  • 2002 - Old Chicago Restaurant and The Neon Factory
  • 2003 - Cole and Company/Century 21 Realty and The Coffee Studio
  • 2004 - Grand Junction Free Press and The Crystal Café
  • 2005 - The Daily Sentinel, Kay Ambrose, and Karen Hildebrandt
  • 2006 - FCI Constructors, Inc. and Sara Alyn Oakley
  • 2007 - Arlene Baker and U.S. Bank and Connie Robbins-Brady and MCVSD 51 Art Heritage Program
  • 2008 - Enstrom Candies and Terry Shepherd, and Honorable Mention 13 Photography
  • 2009 - St. Mary's Hospital and Medical Center, Pamela Blythe of Blythe Group + Co., and Krystyn Hartman/Grand Valley Magazine and Honorable Mention Stephen Boelter
  • 2010 - Wells Fargo and Dean Massey and John and Angie Moss
  • 2011 - Roper Music and Chuck and Robbie Breaux
  • 2012 - Doyle Trading Consultants and Harold and Ruth Moss
  • 2013 - Super Rad and Vera Mulder and Lois and Edward Gardner
  • 2014 - Shear Inc., and Karen Combs
  • 2015 - Tillie Bishop
  • 2016 - Dr. Michael Neste and Family Health West
  • 2017 - KAFM Radio
  • 2018 - John Hopkins and Lancer Livermont
  • 2019 - Troy Reynolds and FCI Constructors
  • 2021 - Gary Ambroiser