In what has got to be described as shocking news, Michael De Marsche resigned as director of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center on August 9, just seven days after the new David Owen Tryba-designed wing was unveiled.
Even more shocking is why: He’s becoming the new director of the Gerald L. Cafesjian Museum Foundation in Yerevan, Armenia! I couldn’t make this stuff up.
Yerevan, by the way, is the capitol of the country, and the foundation, established by entrepreneur Cafesjian, is currently constructing a huge new cultural facility that will serve as a permanent home for his extensive collection of modern art as well as a venue for traveling exhibitions.
During his four-year tenure at the CSFAC, De Marsche led a major turnaround for the Southern Colorado institution, spiking attendance and membership, establishing the FAC Modern downtown annex, and shepherding the restoration of the original John Gaw Meem building and the construction of the Tryba wing.
Some of his decisions were controversial -- especially the loss of the library and the expanded definition of the Taylor Museum, which was limited to Native American and Hispanic material and now encompasses all the art the CSFAC owns. But all and all, he changed the CSFAC for the better.
De Marsche’s last day will be September 1, just a few weeks away -- and in the meantime he’s on vacation.
In the short statement released by the board of trustees, which though not terse was also noticeably unenthusiastic concerning De Marsche’s many accomplishments, it was announced that the search for his replacement would begin immediately. — Michael Paglia