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Rex Morgan Awards

Rex Morgan Award Winners

To honor the spirit of Rex Morgan, awards are given in his name every two years. The Rex Morgan Awards honor outstanding contributions to our community’s culture through leadership, volunteerism, and organizational excellence. The 2024 Block Party & Awards will be held on June 5, 2024 at SCFD. Learn more and reserve your spot here. 

Meet the 2024 Honorees:

Rex Morgan Award for Lifetime Leadership:

George Sparks, winner of the Rex Morgan Award for Lifetime Leadership, smiles at a podium

George Sparks has been the President/CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science since November 2004.  He spent 24 years in the electronics measurement business at Hewlett-Packard and Agilent Technologies.  His career included marketing, sales, and general management of global businesses in software, systems, and services.  Prior to joining Hewlett-Packard, George spent 9 years in the Air Force as a pilot and as an Assistant Professor of Aeronautics at the USAF Academy (1976-1978). He is a Distinguished Graduate of the USAF Academy with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering and holds an MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT.

George’s passion is public policy, particularly around science and education. He is a member of the Colorado Forum, Colorado Concern, and is on the Boards of Colorado Education Initiative, Colorado Business Round Table, Colorado Music Hall of Fame, Denver Council of Foreign Relations, and Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. George is the founder of the Institute for Science & Policy, a program of the Museum. He loves his wife and all his children.

Rex Morgan Award for Civic Engagement & Volunteerism:

Rex Morgan Award for Civic Engagement & Volunteerism recipient, Renee Fajardo

Renee Fajardo is a mother of seven and cultural activist who has spent the past 35 years preserving and promoting the Latino/Mestizo culture of Colorado through her work as a storyteller and writer. She also serves as the program director for the Metropolitan State University of Denver Journey Through Our Heritage program. She is an attorney by training, who after spending several years working with inner city children and homeless families she decided that her first love, writing, was a more effective way to use her skills. Today Ms. Fajardo, along with Carl Ruby, Ed Winograd and Arlette Lucero, is the co-author/compiler of five multi-cultural children’s books; Holy Mole Guacamole & Other Tummy Tales (’97), Pinch A Lotta Enchiladas & Other Tummy Tales (’02) and Chili Today, Hot Tamale & Other Tummy Tales (’04) and Ole! Posole! & Other Tummy Tales(’06) and Frijoles, Elotes y Chipotles, Oh My & Other Tummy Tales (’15).

In addition to collecting stories, Fajardo has collaborated with community members and MSU Denver students on several other projects. She co-founded the Return of the Corn Mothers exhibition with master photographer Todd Pierson, and has also been involved with the Aurora Fox Cultural Concerts Series with the Colorado Folk Arts Council, the Cesar Chavez Peace and Justice Committee of Denver, Danza Huitzilopochtli, and raised thousands of dollars to provide and run a free summer leadership program for Lincoln Park neighborhood kids at La Alma Recreation Center with MSU JTOH mentors. She has been on the board of the Colorado Folk Arts Council for 20 years and is the current board chair of the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council.

Rex Morgan Award for Innovative Partnerships & Regional Cooperation:

Motus Theater's logo which reads "Motus Theater - Moving Stories that Move Us Forward"

Motus Theater’s mission is to create original theater to support community conversation on critical issues of our time. We aim to use the power of art to build alliances across diverse segments of our community and country. We present multimedia history performances through the lens of race and class. We develop artfully crafted auto-biographical monologues with leaders on the frontlines of violence and oppression in the U.S., putting them center stage as the protagonists in the American drama. Motus has three touring autobiographical monologue projects: UndocuAmerica aims to interrupt the dehumanizing portrayals of immigrants by elevating the stories of people who are undocumented, and encouraging thoughtful engagement on the challenges facing the undocumented community and the assets immigrants bring to our country; JustUs supports community leaders who are impacted by carceral systems to share artfully crafted autobiographical monologues that expose the devastating impact of the criminal legal system and inspire action toward a vision of true justice; and TRANSformative Stories supports transgender and non-binary community leaders who are on the frontlines of dehumanizing, anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric to tell artfully crafted autobiographical monologues about negotiating oppression and liberation. Motus Playback Improv Theater is a new project which will train a group of culturally competent improv performers who are prepared to skillfully playback the multitude of experiences that make up our unique communities.

Past Winners:


Jim Harrington, award winner for Lifetime Achievement. Jim Harrington’s service over many decades as treasurer and chairman of the SCFD Board of Directors, as well as his instrumental work in securing reauthorization of the district across multiple elections demonstrates his deep commitment to culture in our metro area.

Darrell Anderson, award winner for Civic Engagement and Volunteerism. Although internationally known for his paintings and visual art, it is Darrell Anderson’s deep commitment to mentoring, teaching and transforming the Denver metro area for the better that earned him this award. He has transformed hundreds of lives through his championing of artists and arts organizations.

The Bonfils-Stanton Foundation and the Denver Foundation, award winners for Innovative Partnership. Their unique partnership was a literal lifeline to arts and culture devastated by the pandemic shutdowns, delivering $2 million to 72 organizations across the Denver metro area.


Federico Peña, award winner for Lifetime Leadership. Federico Pena served as Denver Mayor during a pivotal time for the SCFD and championed the cause. Throughout the rest of his career, he continually contributed to the cultural life of Colorado and the nation.

Dan Hopkins, award winner for Civic Engagement and Volunteerism. Dan Hopkins was a longtime board member for the SCFD, representing Arapahoe County, and contributed extensively to the cultural life of the metro area.

Lone Tree Arts Center, award winner for Innovation and Partnership. In 2012, the center launched an innovative program to engage those who had not only been historically absent from traditional audiences, they had also been actively discouraged from participating in arts and culture programming: those with intellectual or developmental disabilities.


Rita Flores de Wallace was honored for her volunteerism sharing her expert knowledge of Mexican folklorico and dance.


Victoria Sterling has made a significant impact on the cultural community through her plethora of board service, including: Denver County Cultural Council, Young Audiences, Denver School of the Arts, Anti-Defamation League, Cherry Creek Arts Festival, Golden Triangle Association, Visit Denver, Civic Center Conservancy Board, Denver Art Museum, and RedLine.


Suzanne J. Bodis former member of the Arapahoe County Cultural Council, Aurora Cultural Affairs Commission, Art in Public Places Commission, and the Aurora Museum Foundation.


Floyd Ciruli was honored for his tremendous impact to the formation and continued success of the SCFD


Gully Stanford, for his passionate and legendary advocacy for the advancement of culture and arts education


Bob Greenlee, first Chairperson, SCFD Board of Directors


Maruca Salazar, a former member of the Denver County Cultural Council and a long-standing advocate for Chicano artists


John E. Hayes, former Chairman of the SCFD Board of Directors


Mike Moore, founding member and former Chairman of Jefferson County Cultural Council, founding member of Denver Friends of Folk Music and The Baroque Folk, former director of the Evergreen Arts Council, a former trustee of the Colorado Children’s Chorale


Rosalie Keith, former Adams County Cultural Council Member and Founder of Thornton Arts Science and Humanities Council Young Artists Festival


Edward P. Connors, Trustee, Denver Botanic Gardens


A. Barry and Arlene Hirschfeld, Trustees, Denver Art Museum


Harry T. Lewis, Trustee, of Denver Museum of Nature and Science and Chairman of Citizens for Arts to Zoo


Wilbur Flachman, Adams County Cultural Council Chairman


Jane Hansberry, former SCFD District Administrator


Nancy Parker, Trustee, Central City Opera