Almost nine months after its last executive director resigned, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College has a new leader.
Nicole Herden, who last worked as executive director of the Museum of Nebraska Art, in affiliation with University of Nebraska, will start July 31. During her time at MoNA, Herden oversaw a capital campaign that raised $28 million and redesigned the museum's approach to staff and facility management.
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“I am looking forward to cultivating a dynamic and inclusive institution that is relevant not only to the art world, but also to the lives of everyone who lives in the Pikes Peak region," said Herden in a news release.
Former executive director Idris Goodwin, the first person of color to lead the century-old FAC, served in the position for more than two years, resigning in 2022.
In a national hunt to fill the position CC used an international search firm and a local search committee of community leaders, including Vice Chairman and CIO of El Pomar Thayer Tutt and President and CEO of Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs Susan Edmondson.
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It's not easy to find someone who matches the FAC, said Director of Operations and Culture Maria Capp. There aren't many, if any, institutions in the country that combine a theater, museum and arts school.
"We're always looking for somebody who's ready to understand all the pieces," Capp said. "She's strong in the museum arena and that's really helpful to us. She showed great acumen for understanding the other areas without having worked them yet. And she's somebody who understands fundraising. That's a big push for us in realizing all the next goals we have."
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Herden's initial duties will include hiring a new producing artistic director after Pirronne Yousefzadeh announced her departure from the position via social media on Dec. 31 after 18 months on the job. She'll also spend time gaining an understanding of the FAC's different divisions and challenges, building relationships with the community, and redesigning its relationship with the college, Capp said.
"We have a lot of work to do in those areas and especially building the community back up," she said. "Post-Covid we lost a lot of people. We're trying to entice them to leave Netflix and come back into the fold and see live theater again and enjoy the galleries. That will be a big push for all of us and she's going to need to lead us in that effort."