Yesterday, Cottonwood Center for the Arts publicly announced that interim director Sandy Murphy, who has been running the institution since November, will become the permanent executive director.
"I was thrilled," Murphy says of when she heard the board's final decision.
When we first spoke to Murphy, she said she had no designs on applying for the permanent job. Murphy, a metalsmith, planned on returning to her status as a Cottonwood artist. Yet during her time as interim, she says she changed her mind.
"I've gotten to know the artists a lot better and we have a great community and I think it's just become a passion of mine to stay in this position and help them grow," she says, adding, "I've just fallen in love with the position."
Murphy is now looking forward to new projects at Cottonwood, including the Dog Days of Summer, a festival Cottonwood will host in August to celebrate dogs and art. The event will be held right outside Cottonwood on Corona Street and will feature 40 to 70 booths offering arts, crafts and dog products as well as booths from 4 or 5 rescue organizations. Inside, they will have an art exhibit based on artists' interpretations of "dog days of summer."
"We can bring dogs to work, and we think everyone should bring dogs to work," Murphy says of the impetus behind the festival.
"This is our year of giving back and we hope this is one way we can get our artists outside the building, and benefit some rescue organizations."
Cottonwood will also continue with its downtown retail operation, which Murphy says has done quite well. The space at 8 S. Tejon St. was granted to Cottonwood for free on an ongoing basis (unless the space is rented by an outside business).
Back at the central location, Murphy says she will be working on making the space more visually appealing from the outside — "there's so much vibrancy inside this building; we need to take it outside" — possibly expanding the printmaking studio, and growing its class schedules and members.
For more on Murphy's announcement and Cottonwood's plans, read the press release.
Press Release: February 23, 2011
Cottonwood Center for the Arts
427 E. Colorado Ave
Colorado Springs, Co
The Cottonwood Center for the Arts Board of Directors, effective Feb 22, has appointed Sandy Murphy as the Executive Director for Cottonwood. Since October, Sandy has served as the Interim Executive Director. She has provided outstanding leadership and passion for the mission of Cottonwood. While serving in the Interim position, the Board was pleased to hear Sandy’s willingness to become the permanent Director.
During the last three months, much has been accomplished to stabilize and strengthen Cottonwood:
· A retail store was opened at 8 Tejon St. in downtown Colorado Springs to increase the visibility of Cottonwood
· A broad class schedule is underway that includes youth programs and intensive weekend workshops
· A program has been developed to better reach out to the Community includes the Fine Arts Center, CoPPR, Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Partnership, art and cultural groups, Adduce Foundation, Aspen Pointe, and Goodwill.
· A better understanding of facility concerns and problems.
· Improved marketing of Cottonwood programs and events
· A series of successful events at Cottonwood.
· The Cottonwood Artist Community’s support of each other.
The above success would not happen without the leadership of Sandy Murphy, Cottonwood Artists and the Cottonwood staff’s patience, support, time and ideas. The future of Cottonwood depends on the Cottonwood Community working together and sharing the passion for what Cottonwood does for Downtown Colorado Springs.
The Cottonwood Board of Directors has developed a business plan for 2011 which allows Cottonwood to continue to grow. The Downtown Development Authority believes in Cottonwood as we work to actively contribute to the quality of lifestyle in downtown Colorado Springs. The Downtown Development Authority have approved Cottonwood’s business plan for 2011. The plan includes the following:
· Provide value for the tenants and address their concerns.
· Increase occupancy and set rents at a level to better cover the costs of Cottonwood.
· Grow the class schedule and membership
· Address capital projects as funds are available, including inside and outside kilns, signage, safety, and HVAC.
· Increase retail sales and continue the Tejon Store at 8 S. Tejon as long as the space remains available and to help artists develop best practices for selling their art.
· Offer several Downtown Summer Art Festivals, which will include the Dog Days of Summer, and partner with other art festivals in downtown.
· Identify potential grant opportunities and needs for gifts in kind.
The Board appreciates everyone’s support during the last few months of transition and is excited about our future under Sandy’s leadership and management.
Chair of the Cottonwood Board of Directors