Executive Director Statement

September 2013

Autumn is here, and I’ve always enjoyed the changing of the seasons and the fact that so much in our lives Philip Sneed, Executive Director, Arvada Centercoincides with the rhythms of nature.  September reminds us of “back-to-school”, and also happens to be the month when many organizations start new programming. At the Arvada Center this means it’s time to open a new theater season, install three new gallery exhibitions, begin hundreds of education classes and welcome thousands of children into our Arts Day program.  The excitement and anticipation around the Center is palpable. Everyone is preparing for you, our patrons. Whether you’re single, have a family or are enjoying retirement, the Arvada Center offers activities for everyone…so don’t be a stranger!

This fall, the Arvada Center is also preparing for a momentous change. This change will transpire over several years and will set the Center on a new course that promises to enhance our programming and increase our financial viability. We’re excited about our future, and I’m looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead.  I’d like to share with you some critical information about the new direction for the Arvada Center. 

Since the Center was created thirty-seven years ago, it has often been referred to as the “crown jewel” of Arvada. Over the years, the Center has become one of the largest and most well-respected multidisciplinary arts centers in the nation, and one of the largest employers of the creative industry in Colorado.  The Center is now a regional asset and a Colorado “crown jewel”.  

As a department of the City of Arvada, the Arvada Center has annually received significant financial and service support from the City. As we’ve grown and matured into a regional facility, City Council made the commitment to examine the structure of the Center and determine how best to maintain the mission and values of this important institution. This commitment included a study in 2012 that made recommendations to restructure the governance of the Arvada Center in order to maintain and ensure its long-term sustainability. To further examine these recommendations, the City Council established the Arvada Center Ad Hoc Task Force.

The Task Force included City Council members, community members and individuals from the Denver area business, arts and philanthropic communities. Its purpose was to assess and further develop the recommendations of the study and to create a roadmap for City Council to follow in order to achieve the best possible outcome for the City and the Arvada Center. 

Members of the Task Force examined the current operating structure of the Center and structures of similar arts and culture organizations across the country. The consensus was that the best structure for the Center was a public / private partnership with a new emphasis on private participation in both funding and management.  This hybrid approach is designed to combine the strengths of an on-going partnership with the City with those of a more traditional non-profit organization. The Task Force recommended that a new non-profit organization be formed that will, over a transition period of three to five years, be responsible for the operations of the Center. 

One of the greatest benefits of these recommendations is the ability of this new organizational structure to garner additional funding that has been difficult to obtain because the Center is a department of the City.  Although the City will still be a significant source of funds for the Center, the new structure is proposed in order to increase other sources of funding.

You’re probably asking yourself, “So, what does this mean to me?” In short, it means that you are and will remain a vital stakeholder of the Arvada Center. For many years to come we will provide our community and the region with arts and humanities programming that will educate, entertain, inspire and challenge you.

I personally invite you to join us on this journey. Your concerns, ideas and support will help us set the best course.

Philip C. Sneed
Executive Director