Art Scene | PostIndependent.com

Art Scene

Christina Brusig
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TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT

This night, our Inaugural Appreciation Gala, has been in the making since last June when I became executive director of the Art Center. I didn’t know it then, but from the outset, the innovation, partnership, teamwork, support and spirit from the staff and the community led me to this night when I can publicly honor each and every one who has demonstrated that “art matters.”

2014 was an incredible year for the Center for the Arts. Our theme was “Step Up,” and we did just that. We spent a great deal of time assessing what worked and what didn’t. We kept the good, and risked changing everything else. The results were amazing. We are a product of brilliant teamwork, above and beyond dedication with a dash of luck, but most importantly we are the result of an outstanding commitment to our community and to our students.

Tonight will be a big night for me when I stand in front of the community as the leader of this change. When granted the opportunity to direct the Center for the Arts in June, my first goal was to get our organization front of mind in the community. I wanted to make us a pinnacle of Glenwood Springs, and I’m proud to say in nine short months that is exactly what has happened.

OUTREACH

We started by increasing community impact through our outreach programs, adding more than 50 new students through our TRCS Fine Arts Friday program. We introduced dance and art to more than 150 new students through our early release Wednesday and after school programs at Sopris Elementary, Glenwood Springs Elementary and Glenwood Middle School.

QUALITY

Next, we greatly enhanced the quality of our in-house education offerings and, by restructuring our Home School and 5th Day programs, we taught students about art, music and dance through an in-depth study of world culture, studying Africa, Asia, France and America.

The Center experienced, for the first time, “full/wait list” classes for our popular dance program. We refined our tuition structure for all of our in-house programs, making it easier for our students and parents to understand. This method helped us reach new students and satisfy returning ones.

Using “quality over quantity” as our mantra, we designed classes that brought new community interest and participation. I’m so very proud of our Competitive Dance Program, which is a high-ranking, award-winning representation of art at the Center.

PUBLIC EVENTS AND EXHIBITS

“Best yet.” “Never better.” This was the repeated theme of the feedback we received on Culinary Arts Wine and Brewfest and the Summer of Music lineup, confirming our vision and direction and letting us know we greatly exceeded community expectations.

We diversified and enhanced the art in our exhibits, exploring new themes and new concepts. The audience and support of the artists grew.

MEASURE OF SUCCESS

The audience is always the true gauge of any performance, and our positive community influence grew with new and varied collaborations:

Our Friday “Art Scene” Post Independent column brought a newfound interest in everything we do.

Our sponsor and donor numbers grew dramatically.

Our public appeal and understanding improved with face-to-face meetings with community members, Rotary groups, individuals and collaborative partners.

Our successful executive transition proved to be beneficial and well received by our community.

Then came the big one when SMU’s National Center for the Arts designated Glenwood Springs as the most vibrant art community in the country in the category of 1 million residents or less, beating out Santa Fe, New Mexico. Decisions based on fact and not emotion, campaigning or trends have a profound and lasting impact. It opens the door for fundraising and grant opportunities that didn’t exist before.

ART IS THE ANSWER

Renewed dedication and innovation in 2015 saw Painting Pages, our elementary school literacy and art library collaboration, City Hall art exhibits and expanded classes, and our new 14th Street dance and yoga annex become a reality. We look forward to working with the Downtown Development Authority, the Glenwood Springs Chamber, the City of Glenwood Springs and the Garfield County Commissioners to continue to raise the level of state and national awareness of the art and cultural offerings in Glenwood Springs.

The late David Frost was a keen observer of human behavior as we strive to design our lives. His advice was sound: “Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.”

JOIN US TONIGHT

Not a member or sponsor? Here’s your ticket to get in: Just purchase a membership or make a donation at the door and be part of a wonderful evening of entertainment, refreshments and the energy of art.

Christina Brusig is the executive director of the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts. She can be reached at christina@glenwoodarts.org.


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