Radiance Awards

Art + Events

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The Radiance Awards

The RMCAD Radiance Award celebrates and recognizes accomplished RMCAD alumni who have made significant contributions to the creative industry. These inspirational honorees exemplify professional excellence in their field and a commitment to RMCAD’s philosophy of lifelong learning in the arts.

Learn more about our past honorees below.

2023 Radiance Awards

thursday, august 31 @ 6 pm mst

Please join us in the historic Mary Harris Auditorium Lobby at 6:00 p.m. MT for refreshments on August 31, while you enjoy the exhibitions on display in the Rotunda, Rude, and Philip J. Steele Galleries. The award ceremony will commence at 7:00 p.m. For those who cannot attend in person, the ceremony will be available on live-stream.

We honor this year’s recipients of the Radiance Award, Xi Zhang (2008) and Luke Flowers (2000), two alumni who radiate the core values of RMCAD! Zhang is a world-renowned painter who has exhibited his work in shows at the Song Zhuang Art Museum in Beijing, URRA in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Ornaments at the White House. Flowers is an author and illustrator who has worked on more than 75 titles, including the New York Times Best-seller “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” poems by Fred Rogers, and “The Muppets Christmas Carol” storybook.

You don’t want to miss this celebration to recognize the significant contributions these RMCAD alumni have made in the creative industry. 

The 2023 Honorees

Luke Flowers


Class of 2000


Luke Flowers is an author/illustrator from Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Luke graduated from RMCAD in 2000. After graduation, he spent 10 years as a designer, illustrator and creative director for Young Life. In 2010, he launched his own studio, Luke Flowers Creative. At that time he began focusing his creative journey on children’s publications. By 2015, Luke Flowers illustrated his first published children’s book with Penguin Random House and the Smithsonian Institute.

Luke has illustrated more than 75 children’s books. Most notably, the New York Times Best-seller “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” poems by Fred Rogers, the award-winning “Unicorn Day,” “Unicorn Night,” and “Unicorn Christmas” series by Diana Murray. Other unique and treasured projects include, Disney’s “The Muppet Christmas Carol” storybook and “Jim Henson’s Labyrinth ABC Storybook.”

He is also both the author and illustrator of the “Moby Shinobi” series with Scholastic. The book series has sold over a million copies since book #1 was published in 2016.

Luke’s pop-culture themed artwork has been featured in over 50 gallery shows in New York, Los Angeles and various galleries in Colorado.

When Luke isn’t illustrating or writing in his creative cave he enjoys puppetry, playing banjo, basketball and outdoor adventures with his family. He lives with his wife and three children in Colorado Springs. Colorado. Learn more about his story, books and art at lukeflowers.com.

Xi Zhang


Class of 2008

Fine Arts

Born in 1984 in Kaifeng, China, Xi Zhang completed his studies in painting at the Beijing Institute of Art and Design in China. He then moved to the United States to pursue further artistic training at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (RMCAD) in Denver, Colorado.

In 2008, he obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from RMCAD and was recognized as the Emerging Artist of the Year by Denver Post art critic Kyle MacMillan, who praised his well-developed and surprisingly mature artistic vision. Zhang went on to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in painting at the University of Colorado, Boulder,
completing his degree in 2011. He currently serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Painting at the College of Fine Arts, University of Utah.

Zhang’s work has been showcased in notable exhibitions, including the Song Zhuang Multimedia Art Exhibition at the Song Zhuang Art Museum in Beijing (2006), URRA in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2012), Ornaments at the White House (2012), and the Biennale of America in the United States (2013). His artwork has garnered attention from various media outlets, such as CNN (2011), Art ltd Magazine (2012), PBS (2013), NPR (2013), and Juxtapoz Magazine (2014).

Zhang has received several prestigious awards, including Emerging Artist of the Year (Denver Post, 2008), The Pathmaker (Denver Post, 2011), Top Twelve Artists Under Age 35 (Denver Post, 2012), The John Moores Painting Prize (China, Finalist 2016), Gold Award Winner in Painting from the Art Forward Contest (Los Angeles, 2016), Celeste Prize in Painting (Italy, Finalist 2017), and the SeeMe Grand Prize in Painting (2020) awarded by a panel of judges including Jerry Saltz (senior arts critic at New York Magazine and Pulitzer Prize winner) and
Christine Kuan (CEO of Sotheby’s Institute of Art) for Art Saves Humanity.

Zhang is represented by PLUS Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery in Denver and Marc Straus Gallery in New York. www.xizhang.org

The 2019 Honorees

Jenny Morgan

Jenny Morgan

Class of 2003

Fine Arts/Illustration

Jenny Morgan is a contemporary artist and painter currently living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Morgan’s work has received critical attention in numerous publications including articles in Whitewall, Hi-Fructose, The Village Voice, The Denver Post, and the cover feature of Juxtapoz in May 2015.

Morgan celebrated her first solo museum exhibition “Skin Deep” with The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver in 2017. Her 2013 solo exhibition “How To Find A Ghost” was named one of the top 100 fall shows worldwide by Modern Painters in 2013. She has realized several portraiture commissions for publications including The New York Times Magazine and New York Magazine.

Morgan has had solo exhibitions in London, New York, Colorado, Utah, Indiana, New Mexico, and has been in numerous group exhibitions including at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., the 92Y Tribeca in New York City, and Postmasters Gallery in Rome. Her work is represented in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, Purdue University Art Gallery, the University of Maryland Stamp Student Union Art Collection, New Mexico State University, and Flint Institute of Arts, as well as major private collections throughout the world.

We visited Jenny’s studio in 2014 to talk to her about her work and her experience at RMCAD. You can watch the full interview on YouTube.


We interviewed Jenny for our blog. Read the post here.

Paul Trani

Paul Trani

Class of 1995


As Principal Worldwide Creative Cloud Evangelist for Adobe, Paul Trani is passionate about empowering designers to create compelling content using their creativity and new technology, whether it’s traditional graphic design and branding, creating cutting-edge web content, or intuitive mobile experiences.

With over twenty years of experience Paul has become an award-winning designer, passionate public speaker, and prolific trainer. He has earned top author status on Lynda.com and has created a steady stream of content for Adobe during his time with the company. With over 40 countries and countless presentations under his belt he has become a sought after public speaker in the creative world.

We interviewed Paul for our blog. Read the post here.

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