April 23, 2024

Idris Goodwin, who was named the first person of color to lead the century-old Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College just one month before the pandemic shutdown in February 2020, has resigned effective Friday.

Goodwin, who has been associated with Colorado College for eight years including his time as a professor, is a successful playwright whose play “Blackademics” is currently being staged at Vintage Theatre in Aurora through June 19.

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Goodwin, who was named one of 60 National Fellows by United States Artists last year, told The Gazette today that he has not accepted a position elsewhere, and he has no plans to leave Colorado — but he was not yet ready to talk in greater detail about his decision to leave. “But I am going to be fine,” he added.

The FAC includes world-class galleries, the Bemis School of Art and one of the state’s three largest professional theater companies. Goodwin made two major personnel moves during his tenure: naming Pirronne Yousefzadeh as the producing artistic director of the Fine Arts Center Theatre Company and Michael Christiano as the new museum director.

Goodwin proactively responded to the pandemic by launching “City as a Venue,” a new program designed to bring theater, dance, music and more to outdoor locations across Colorado Springs last summer, which included having a new outdoor stage built in the Sculpture Garden.

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This year’s programming begins Wednesday and includes a staging of the women’s soccer play “The Wolves” in the outdoor theater; a series of children’s plays on Saturday afternoons in area parks and at area community centers; and various hands-on arts activities.

Colorado College Senior Vice President Mike Edmonds confirmed Goodwin’s resignation “with mixed emotions” in an internal memo.

“The FAC made great strides during Idris’ 27-month tenure, including the FAC museum receiving reaccreditation from the American Alliance of Museums, launching the City as a Venue programming and guiding the museum through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he wrote.

Edmonds called Goodwin “a well-respected artist in his own right,” and added, “I know we are all very appreciative of Idris’ contributions to Colorado College and Colorado Springs and wish him much continued success.” The college will consider next steps for filling the position following this weekend’s commencement activities, he added.

When he was hired, Goodwin said making the arts accessible to everyone was his top priority. “One of the words that’s in our mission statement that I am obsessed with is ‘vitality,’ ” Goodwin said. “That is 100% what the role of the arts and culture space is, to me: To show and exhibit and encourage signs of life.”

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