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Grand Junction Art Center’s new director to focus on strengths

Brittany Markert
bmarkert@gjfreepress.com
Mikkel Kelly is Western Colorado Center for the Art's new executive director.
Brittany Markert / bmarkert@gjfreepress.com | Free Press

Go&DO

WHAT: First Friday at The Art Center

WHEN: Friday, Sept. 4, 5-9 p.m.

WHERE: 1803 N. Seventh St., Grand Junction

COST: Free

INFO: http://www.gjartcenter.org

Mikkel Kelly started his new position as executive director of Western Colorado Center for the Arts (also known as The Art Center) in July 2015.

Since his start, he has been busy getting to know members of the community and focusing on the strengths of the center.

“I’m trying to meet people and to put my time in the community,” Kelly said.



The strengths he plans to focus on with the center include building upon the classes and exhibits. The Artability program is a class Kelly is particularly excited to see grow. The program started in 2009 with 40 members and has now grown to serve around 440 people last year, with 134 identified as physically or mentally challenged.

The center has undergone renovations totaling $80,000 to create American Disabilities Act compliant doorways and access. “I think that’s great because I like the idea of inclusiveness and to serve a lot of different age groups as well,” Kelly said.



An upcoming exhibit will feature Colorado Mesa University lecturers, which will focus on water and drought and tying it in with art pieces.

“I love combining more than one discipline,” he said.

Kelly added he is currently in the planning stages of building up The Art Center’s website as well as their social media presence.

He is also reviewing the work from the annual retreat with ideas from the board.

“This is a cornerstone in the community,” he said. “It has an amazing permanent gallery and the responsibility to maintain that and use it to showcase amazing art that will inspire the community.”

Before moving to Grand Junction, he lived on the Front Range and was part of Adams County Cultural Council, which provided him with the background in grants and art advocacy.

“I always knew I’d like to be involved in being an executive director of an arts center,” Kelly said. “I’ve been working towards this for a few years; I’m excited to do this.”

He recently received an MBA in management from Regis University in Denver.

“This degree provides him with the additional background necessary to run a vibrant art center with a strong future. We at The Art Center are excited to have Mikkel joining us,” said art center board president Robbie Breaux in a news release.

Kelly encourages folks interested in meeting him to come to a First Friday event at the center. The next event is set for Friday, Sept. 4, from 5-9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit http://www.gjartcenter.org.


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