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The success of the successor

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Christopher Lynn knows a thing or two about replacing a prominent figure in the Colorado Springs art community.

And, well, it ain't easy.

When Lynn was brought on board at UCCS' Gallery of Contemporary Art, he was faced with the task of replacing longtime director Gerry Riggs, whose eye for local talent elevated him to near-legend status within the scene.

Lynn's challenge wasn't just establishing himself as a leading figure in the community; it was also dealing with what Riggs had left behind. Almost a year into his tenure as GoCA director, Lynn is still managing an exhibition schedule Riggs booked.

Being faced with the proactive planning of a previous gallery director brings negatives and positives. For Lynn, it hindered his ability to make an immediate, unique splash on the community. At the same time, it forced him to think outside the box and create non-exhibition-related GoCA events like panel discussions, art-making sessions and film screenings to make a name for himself. To his credit, Lynn's strategy has largely worked.

Just as Riggs did, Michael De Marsche is leaving the FAC with a planned-out exhibition schedule through 2008. But the FAC scenario is unique, Lynn says, "especially since Michael De Marsche was so involved in everything."

An interim director took the reins of GoCA in the months between Riggs' departure and Lynn's arrival. Similarly, the FAC board will meet Thursday to discuss naming an interim CEO.

Lynn points out that even with an interim director, he still faced miscommunication issues when he arrived at UCCS. He expects that while "they're trying to stay positive and ride the wave of things [from the opening]" at the FAC, "there will be problems."

"Any departure," he says, "is going to have a negative impact on an institute."

Pete Freedman

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