Carbondale Arts’ new director ‘stood out from the very beginning’ |

Carbondale Arts’ new director ‘stood out from the very beginning’

Carbondale Arts has a new executive director, Jamie Abbott, a longtime local who’s no stranger to working with the art world, her community and nonprofits. 

“I have spent my career working to support my community — in creative, environmental and educational fields — always with an eye toward innovation, problem-solving and impact,” Abbott said. “There’s nothing I believe in more than the importance of community, and the role an organization like Carbondale Arts can have in a community.”

Abbott has worked for nonprofits for almost 25 years, including 15 years at Aspen Words, where she worked her way from operations assistant to the programs manager, and eventually to director. 

“I enjoy working with inspired and inspiring people, fundraising for good causes, building partnerships and really connecting with all the different people who make up our special mountain towns,” she said. 

Most recently, Abbott was the development director for Colorado Mountain College, working as a leader on funding strategic priorities for the college statewide.

“We were very honored and lucky to have many qualified candidates apply for this role, but Jamie stood out from the very beginning — her poise and respect toward the position and our organization were noticeable,” said Leah Swan, Carbondale Arts board of directors co-chair. “There is so much good that has been built at Carbondale Arts, and the next leader needs to be able to navigate all of it. Jamie exhibits that.” 

Another co-chair on the board of directors and a previous staff member, Kat Rich, said Abbott brings knowledge of fundraising, relationship building and an understanding of the valley and the unique climate it offers.

“Her work with a variety of organizations valleywide makes it possible to extend her reach far and wide,” Rich said. “She understands and appreciates the value of art and creative endeavors and believes in their power to help build community.”

Abbott will begin Oct. 1, taking over for Amy Kimberly, who is entering a “rewirement” from her 18-year tenure with the organization.

“I really would like to thank my board of directors who worked so hard and diligently on making sure there was a good person at the helm of Carbondale Arts, and I am so appreciative of the process and the work they put in,” Kimberly said.

Kimberly’s final day coincides with the turn of the calendar year, giving the two women overlap on the job for a few months. Kimberly said she met Abbott on a river trip and has had a pleasure getting to know Abbott as a friend, and she is excited to get to know her as a colleague, too. 

Kimberly describes Abbott as an ideal fit.

“Kind and graceful, with wonderful experience working with artists and raising money,” she said. “That’s a winning combination for this organization.”

Carbondale hasn’t lost Kimberly to a new location or industry. She will still be in town and plans to direct the Green is the New Black Fashion Show. Kimberly also plans to volunteer at Mountain Fair, and stay engaged with the Carbondale Creative District, which was her greatest accomplishment while at Carbondale Arts.

“I’m obviously stepping into gigantic shoes,” Abbott said, “and am looking forward to spending the next couple of months learning from Amy and the Carbondale Arts staff and board. I’m hopeful that my experience in the valley, in the arts and in the nonprofit realm can be of service to the community and continue the wonderful tradition of Carbondale Arts.” 

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