Jenny Birnie resigns from Center

Headed to GVH. Center begins E.D. search

by Mark Reaman

Crested Butte Center for the Arts executive director Jenny Birnie will step down from that job at the end of August. Beginning in September she will head up the Gunnison Valley Health Foundation. Her resignation takes effect August 31 but she will fill in with a part-time consulting role with the Center through October 31.

Birnie said this week that the decision to move on was an emotional one. “I have so many emotions about this change, but, really, what I mostly feel is gratitude. I’m grateful for the best staff the Center has ever had. I’m grateful for all the board members, past and present, who have worked so hard by my side. And I’m deeply grateful for and truly humbled by all the donors who have made the dream of the new building a reality.”

Ed Schmidt, the Center’s current development director, will assume the role of interim executive director starting on September 1 as a search for a permanent successor is conducted.

According to a press release from the Center, Birnie joined the Center 11 years ago and has led the non-profit organization through a time of tremendous growth in the arts. She managed greatly expanded arts programming, while also overseeing the current capital campaign for an expanded facility.

Board president Joel Benisch lauded Birnie’s accomplishments. “Jenny has been an exceptional executive director, who has championed many new arts initiatives while building relationships with local non-profits, community members, public officials and business leaders. She has led the efforts for the Center for the Arts’ capital campaign from the early planning stages to the recent ceremonial ribbon-cutting for Phase I, the new building,” he said. “We are sad to see her go, but wish her the best with her new professional endeavors.”

Birnie has accepted the position of executive director for foundation and community well-being at Gunnison Valley Health.

“Working for the Center has been one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever held, and it was a tough decision to leave. But I believe in the team that we have assembled, and I’m confident that they will be very successful after my departure,” said Birnie.

Birnie emphasized the quality of people she worked with during her tenure at the Center. “I cannot thank the Center’s design and construction team enough. All of these people, and so many more, are why I know the Center will continue to thrive even as I move on,” she concluded. “The Center is by and for the people, and always will be.”

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