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
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.