Monday, January 3, 2011

COPPeR Announces New Executive Director: Colorado Springs native Christina McGrath brings arts passion and organizational savvy

The Board of Directors of COPPeR, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, is pleased to announce the appointment of Christina McGrath as Executive Director, starting January 18, 2011.

Christina comes to COPPeR from El Pomar Foundation, where after completing the Fellowship program she was invited to stay on and manage several programs including: the Anna Keesling Ackerman and Freda Hambrick Funds, The Empty Stocking Fund, and the foundation's compliance program. McGrath will replace Executive Director Bettina Swigger, who will step down in January after having served in that position for three years.

"COPPeR is at such an exciting stage in terms of growth and development," said Amanda Mountain, board chair of COPPeR. "The board feels that Christina is the perfect fit to build on all of the tremendous work Bettina has done, and to further expand beyond what even we can see in terms of possibilities for the organization."

Christina has lived in Colorado Springs for over 20 years and says that her passion for the arts started as a toddler when she was first sprinkled with "fairy dust" by Mary Mashburn, long beloved locally as the Fairy Godmother of the Arts. Christina grew up taking classes at the Bemis School of Art, and as a student at The Colorado Springs School, she was exposed to and participated in all aspects of fine arts thanks to their strong arts curriculum. Christina has a Bachelor's degree in Architecture and a Minor in Arts Management from Miami University. While at Miami, she played Baritone in the Marching and Athletic Bands and was a member of the Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity. An active community volunteer, she serves on the board of Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity.

"At El Pomar I've had exposure to hundreds of outstanding nonprofits, I am excited to now be working for one," said McGrath. "The vitality of a city depends on its arts and cultural scene and having grown up in this community I know we have a lot to offer."

"Christina's many experiences and leadership opportunities here at El Pomar certainly have prepared her for this new responsibility. We are pleased to see her take on this next challenge and believe that COPPeR and our entire Colorado Springs community will benefit from her skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm," said William J. Hybl, chairman and CEO of El Pomar Foundation.

"I am delighted to know Christina will be taking the reigns at COPPeR," said Swigger. "This vibrant organization has an active, committed board of directors, excellent staff, wonderful support in our community, and a solid plan for growth and development. I look forward to working with Christina in the next few weeks to ensure a seamless leadership transition."

Members of the community are invited to meet Christina at an open house/art opening in the COPPeR creative space in the Plaza of the Rockies on Friday, February 4, 2011 from 6-9 p.m. This celebration will happen in tandem with the opening of the Breaking the Sound Barrier, Sonic Art 1860-2010 exhibition at the UCCS Gallery of Contemporary Art next door.

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