Durango Arts Center announced this week that Executive Director Cristie Scott will be leaving her post at the end of May.
According to a news release, Scott, who grew up in Durango, will be leaving to take on the role of Parks Exhibition Center manager for the Idyllwid Arts Foundation in Idyllwild, California. She will be overseeing the year-round exhibits and operations of a 1,400-square-foot gallery that serves as the focal point for the IAF campus.
The move is not a random one for Scott, who has worked at Idyllwild in the past and who has extended family in the area.
“That job really ignited my understanding of arts administration as a career,” she said. “I came out of college as a studio art major, I didn’t really know what to do with that, but suddenly, I had a job that was working with artists and coordinating programs, and I realized I had an interest in that administration side, so that’s what helped me go to grad school and pursue a graduate degree.”
Scott said she wasn’t looking for a job but had kept in touch with her former colleagues, and when she heard the position was available, she applied just to see what would happen.
“During the process, I realized that this could be actually really a nice transition from what I’ve been doing into what I loved, which was direct programming,” she said.
At DAC since August 2014, Scott said leaving won’t be easy.
“It definitely will be hard because I grew up in Durango, we just bought a house last year. We love everyone we work with,” she said. “I love everything I’m doing here, but at the same time, I recognize it’s just a great opportunity for me to be working more directly with the arts.”
As for Scott’s legacy, she said she hopes that she leaves behind the legacy of the importance of DAC – and the arts – in the community, something she said she worked on not only at the Arts Center but through her work with the city’s Public Arts Committee.
“It’s been very important to me that the Arts Center remains and is very relevant, that we stand as a leader in culture and helping advance culture in any form for the community,” she said. “On a micro-level, it was important to me for DAC to be important and engaging with local artists – we have so many amazing artists who live in Durango. It was really important to me to make sure the Arts Center had opportunities for artists, whether that’s through micro-grants or through our exhibits program, or theater programs … making sure that we were not just a presenter of the arts but we were actively involving people in the process in making art or celebrating, or appreciating or being immersed in the arts.”
Scott said the DAC board is looking to have an interim executive director in place before she leaves.