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Lots of us have been waiting to hear this. Who will (or possibly even can) replace Terry Adams as the CEO of the Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver? When Terry took over 14 years ago the organization was in very rough financial shape. An event of this scope needs a strong fiscally smart and responsible manager.

We were wondering if the job would go to Tara Brickell, the Associate Director, who has been acting CEO since Terry left a few months ago, but the new CEO, Chris Stevens seems to fit the bill very well for the event.

He has been a banker, a juror for the show, owned an art gallery, managed the arts and culture program at the Denver airport (I've seen some pretty great stuff there). He has lived in the community for two years which is probably important in order to continue the well-developed relationships between the festival and the community.

He joins the staff just a few weeks before the festival - a big job looms ahead for him.   

Welcome to Art Fair World, Chris! 

Even if you don't do "top tier" events the art festival business needs blockbuster events like Cherry Creek to keep the level of art on the streets high. A high tide raises all boats.

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Comment by Connie Mettler on June 25, 2015 at 12:47pm

Amy Curlee, Office and Programming Coordinator of the CCAF, just contacted me with the information that Chris won't be joining the staff until after the festival. That surely makes sense.

Here is the press release for the announcement of his appointment:

DENVER (June 24, 2015) – Beginning on July 6, directly following the 25th anniversary of the Cherry Creek Arts Festival (CCAF), Chris Stevens, formally manager of the art and culture program at Denver International Airport, will take over as president and CEO of CCAF.


“We are excited for Chris to lead CherryArts and its robust and growing nonprofit mission to provide access to arts experiences and support arts education for 20,000 youth annually throughout Colorado,” said Cherry Creek Arts Festival Board Chair Stacia Freimuth. “CCAF’s 25th anniversary celebration marks a key milestone for the organization, and the CCAF board of directors anticipates great success in this next chapter of our history.”


Along with the continued success of year-round, mission-based programming, CCAF’s annual Cherry Creek Arts Festival supports artist sales of $2.8 million and contributes millions of dollars in economic impact to the Cherry Creek North Business Improvement District, the City of Denver and the State of Colorado.


“I’m honored to become part of an organization that is a premier cultural institution in the city of Denver and in Colorado,” said Stevens. “I look forward to working with the board, staff and our rich community partners to expand CCAF’s mission of increasing access to arts in the Denver community and beyond.”


The Cherry Creek Arts Festival board of directors conducted a nationwide search when former president and CEO Terry Adams departed CCAF in February after serving the organization for 14 years. Interim director Tara Brickell will continue to lead the organization through the 25th Anniversary celebration (July 3, 4 and 5) until Stevens moves into his position on July 6.


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