It's officially a trend. Throughout Colorado Springs, the arts scene is shifting, as leaders of art institutions and galleries are leaving. First, co-owners Lorelei Beckstrom and Caitlin Goebel stepped down from the now-closed Rubbish Gallery, followed by executive director Kay Jeansonne of Cottonwood Center for the Arts.
Now Holly Parker of Smokebrush Gallery is leaving. Like the others, she is looking to pursue her own artwork. Parker worked with Smokebrush as the director and curator for two and a half years, landing exhibitions with James Balog, Ron English, Regan Rosburg, Greg Block and Jimmy Descant. Parker also managed programs with the Uncle Wilber Fountain and B.I.G. Idea Workshops. Parker began working with the Smokebrush Foundation back in 1998.
Parker says she will stay in town and work as an artist full-time, a goal she says she's been pursuing for years. She plans to do some independent curating as well.
"I'm ready to go, and Smokebrush is ready to go into a whole new phase," Parker said on the phone today.
Local arts figure and Smokemuse Media collaborator Don Goede will become the organization's new director. Goede has worked with Smokebrush founder Kat Tudor on Smokemuse for six years and was the organization's first choice for new director.
"I don't think I've ever been so excited about an opportunity in my life, honestly," Goede says of the new job.
Goede is looking to focus the integration between the healing powers of art and yoga, which has long been a mission of Smokebrush. "Art on the wall is like yoga for the eyes, but you can have yoga for all the senses," he says.
Smokebrush will also relocate to the Trestle Building (219 W. Colorado Ave., #210), just across the street from its current location in the Depot Arts District. The new space will work well with the new direction of the institution, as it will feature a "communal-type gallery/lounge/workshop space" and offer room for performance art, yoga and Tai Chi classes and other multi-media events. There are plans for a larger, live performance space and a library in the future.
"(It's) a really wonderful, multi-use space that will accommodate and foster all kinds of events," Parker says.
According to the press release, some soft opening events are being planned for December, with a grand re-opening set for next spring.
For more information, visit smokebrush.org.