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Meet Steve Sumner

Written by Ruth Morehouse on .

This month is an opportune time to feature the outstanding leadership qualities of Steve Sumner, Executive Director of the Center for the Arts Evergreen. The local activity calendar for July is punctuated by events that have Steve’s fingerprint on them. Steve just completed another successful Summerfest (July 16-17), the signature event of the Center which has broadened its offerings and attendance over the last four years with Steve at the helm of Evergreen’s nonprofit art center.

Summerfest has been going on for many years in our mountain community but now it is also a part of a whole series of community artistic events in Evergreen called Arts Alive which extend until the end of July. Steve was instrumental in the initial planning and development of this amazing community effort which showcases the numerous artistic offerings of our community and which is now in its second year with promise of continued growth and expansion. Steve helped get this started by applying for and receiving a grant for the initial planning and startup of Arts Alive. He has continued to be highly involved with that organization.

Other artistic events scheduled for this month include the current photography exhibit at the Center, Evergreen Paint Out in downtown Evergreen on Saturday July 23, and an opening reception called Abstract Delight (5-8pm on July 29 at CAE) with selections from the Polly and Mark Addison Collection of the CU Art Museum of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

When you compliment Steve on his accomplishments or the continuing success of the CAE, even during very difficult financial times, his first response is to graciously credit all the people on his staff, especially Assistant Director, Becky Guy, or board members, or other artistic and community leaders in our town. And it is true that much of Steve’s success is in partnership with others in the community.

His greatest strength as executive director is his ability to develop creative, collaborative alliances with a myriad collection of people including private donors, artists, community leaders, and talented, dedicated board members. Steve combines his strong sense of commitment to the arts with a talent for bringing out the best in others. He demonstrates an unflagging amount of energy and organization and is constantly seeking ways to bring greater, broader attention to our community arts activities. Steve has made a point of connecting and working with the arts and funding organizations throughout the state and has developed a solid reputation statewide as a man of vision and artistic and organizational expertise.

Steve has many talents as an executive director but perhaps the nicest thing about him is that he loves what he is doing and seems delighted by every opportunity to encourage artists, to enhance the community, and to further the expansion of artistic excellence in our mountain community. Although he works long hours, often on a very tight, shoestring budget, and has many competing demands and responsibilities, you always get the feeling that Steve is having fun and that sense of fun is contagious. Evergreen is truly fortunate to have a man of his caliber directing the Center for The Arts.