MacMillan stepping down from Center for Arts leadership

June 2 last day in office

By Mark Reaman

One of the three members of the Crested Butte Center for the Arts Executive Leadership team will be stepping down in June, a year after the three took the reins of the Center’s operations. Co-Executive Director/Artistic Director Brooke MacMillan will be stepping away from the Center on June 2 due to family commitments.

MacMillan was the Artistic Director for the Center when she, Development Director Jillian Liebl and Director of Community Engagement and Operations Melissa Mason took the helm as the Executive Leadership Team in June of 2022 after the Center and then-Executive Director Matt Neufeld parted ways. 

MacMillan joined the Center team in 2018 after working in several capacities in the community, including youth leadership, community organizing and journalism. After marrying local educator Jason MacMillan, they moved to Turkey and eventually to Scotland in 2014. MacMillan then worked with UK book and literary festivals while completing her MFA thesis manuscript on oral histories of the oldest old generation in Scotland, along with a look at aging in our global context — the focus of the book she plans to complete.

In her time at the Center, MacMillan founded the annual Mountain Words Literary Festival, the Murder in the Mountains genre fiction festival, the Writer-in-Residence program, the Literary Arts & Lecture series, the Local Luminaries series, local writers coop, monthly trivia, and other programming staples in recent years. She has also worked to bring diverse and highly talented artists, musicians, writers and thinkers to the community and into the schools.

“This was an extremely difficult decision to make,” MacMillan said this week. “I am so passionate about my work and all of the wonderful things we’re able to do in this community. I have loved this job endlessly, but it requires 200% effort at all times and ultimately the needs of my family and other professional pursuits require my focus at this time. I would be doing all a disservice in keeping my current pace.”

Center for the Arts board member Arvin Ramgoolam said MacMillan has been instrumental in the creation of the literary arts program at the Center. “More than that, she has harnessed the potential for the arts in Crested Butte in her role as Artistic Director,” he said. “Throughout COVID, Brooke found ways for people to meaningfully connect while balancing the health of the community with the vital need to create and experience art. Brooke has been a pivotal part of making the Center for the Arts what it is, keeping the values of what makes Crested Butte special in focus in all aspects of programming.” 

MacMillan said Mason and Liebl, along with some other members of the Center staff, will absorb some of her professional duties in the coming months. From there, she will consult with the Center on projects and continue to advance literary programming in the Valley. “I’m excited for this next chapter, but truly, the Center will never be rid of me.”

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