Starting tomorrow, Dr. Daniel Lere will take over as executive director at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center. Lere, of Pueblo County, will step in after Sangre's initial choice for ED, Bill Mercer, was released at the end of March, after only a few months at the center.
Lere was one of the final candidates in the running last year, when a national search was implemented to find a new leader for the institution, following Maggie Divelbiss' retirement.
Unlike Mercer, who had an extensive background in museum work, Lere hails from education, having retired as Pueblo School District 70's superintendent in 2010. Recently, he served as a district director for U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton. But Lere has close ties with the Sangre: He once chaired the board, and is a current member serving the last year of his second term.
Here's the full press release:
Arts Center Board Announces New executive director
(Pueblo, Colo.—July 29, 2011) The Sangre de Cristo Arts Center Board of Trustees announced today that Dr. Daniel Lere as the new executive director of the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center. Dr. Lere will begin his duties Tuesday, August 2, 2011.
The decision follows the Arts Center Board of Trustees July board meeting at which next steps for replacing former executive director Bill Mercer, were finalized. Mercer’s contract was cancelled March 31. Mercer was hired in November 2010 to replace long-time director Maggie Divelbiss, who retired following a 38-year career at the Arts Center.
A national search to replace Divelbiss was conducted in the fall of 2010. Dr. Lere was among the final candidates interviewed for the position and was the only Pueblo County resident. He retired as superintendent of Pueblo School District 70 in June 2010, and most recently served as southeast district director for U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton. Dr. Lere is a past chairman of the Arts Center Board of Trustees, and is serving the last year of his second term on the board.
“The board was faced with the decision to conduct another national search or revisit our slate of very qualified final candidates from the previous search,” said Board Chairman Elizabeth Gallegos, noting that another search would consume thousands of dollars for the non-profit arts center. “We ascertained that Dan possesses the qualities needed to keep the Arts Center flourishing. He is a long-time member of the community who has shown an active interest in supporting the Arts Center for years, both as a volunteer and a board member. His background in education dovetails perfectly with many of our programs and school partnerships. We are extremely pleased that he has chosen to accept this new role.”
“I would like to first of all thank the Board and this community for the chance to take on a leadership role with the one of the most important cultural organizations in Southern Colorado,” Dr. Lere said. “I am very excited about the opportunity to work with a talented staff and a Board committed to excellence. The Arts Center has been and will continue to be the cultural center for this part of the state and I am thrilled that I get to be a part of that legacy. The future of the Arts Center will be based on the blending of tradition and innovation. In order to accomplish that we will need to work as team, a team that includes staff, Board and community. I look forward to that challenge.”
Arts Center Controller, Rochelle Spoone, has served as the interim executive director of the Arts Center since April 1. She will remain as controller of the organization.
About the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center
The cultural hub of Southern Colorado, the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center gives visitors the tools to think and act creatively through a three building complex including seven galleries offering the best in historic and contemporary art by artists of local, regional and national renown. In addition the Arts Center offers the Buell Children’s Museum, recognized as the second-best for art by Child magazine, a 500-seat theater featuring a variety of performing arts programs, both local and national, and two gift shops. Over 100 fine arts, dance and leisure classes are available every quarter providing something unique to everyone from children to adults of all skill levels.
Admission to the Arts Center is $4 for adults and $3 for children and military. Admission includes the Buell Children’s Museum. Members of the Arts Center receive free admission. Galleries and Buell Children’s Museum are open Tuesday-Saturday 11a.m.-4p.m.; closed Mondays. Box office open Monday-Friday, 9a.m.-5p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.For more information, please call 719-295-7200; stop by the Arts Center located at 210 N. Santa Fe Ave., just off of I-25, exit 98b, or visit online at www.sangredecristoarts.org.