Art Review

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center welcomes a new director

Last week, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center concluded its nearly year-long search for a new director by hiring Sam Gappmayer (pictured). The job represents a big promotion for Gappmayer, who is currently the director of the much more modest Sun Valley Center for the Arts, in Idaho.

Second only to the Denver Art Museum in its prestige and position in the Rocky Mountain region, the CSFAC has had an important role in Colorado's mid-twentieth-century art history. But all hasn't run smoothly there recently, and Gappmayer is the third director in just over five years.

In 2003, then-director David Turner resigned after his idea to smack an addition on the front of the iconic John Gaw Meem building thankfully went down in flames. Board of trustees president Diane Sikes, who'd endorsed the project, also left.

Turner was succeeded by Michael De Marsche, who oversaw the construction of a remarkably sensitive David Owen Tryba-designed addition to the building. But De Marsche shocked everyone when he quit within a week of the ribbon cutting to take a job spearheading the development of an art center in Armenia.

Now it's Gappmayer's turn. In a statement, he notes that he was born and raised in Montana and so has a tremendous affection for the Rocky Mountain region and its art and culture. If we take him at his word, this makes him a good match for the CSFAC, since its substantial permanent collection includes many examples of the art of Colorado and New Mexico, and its programming often spotlights regional works.

This will be Gappmayer's fifth directorship in a dozen years. Here's hoping he stays for a while and fits in with the excellent curators who are already there.