Cindy Kittredge announces her retirement from the Montana Arts Council
The Montana Arts Council (MAC) announces the pending retirement November 1 of Cindy Kittredge, the agency’s Folk Arts and Market Development Specialist. Kittredge developed the Montana Artrepreneur Program (MAP) for the agency, which has earned a national reputation for its outstanding training program in marketing and business skills development for artists. She also spearheaded the Montana Circle of American Masters (MCAM) program to honor outstanding traditional artists and celebrate Montana’s folk arts heritage. Thirty eight artists have been honored in MCAM, and more than 250 artists have undertaken the training offered through the MAP program.
Kittredge says, “My heartfelt thanks to both the Montana Arts Council and the state’s artists for the opportunity to help creative individuals find new paths to sustain themselves. As a person of the land with numerous and long rows to hoe, I don’t see work ending but evolving. The timing now seems right to step over to the next row with all its possibilities.”
MAC Executive Director Arlynn Fishbaugh says, “Cindy has set the bar very high for arts agency programs that effectively serve artists. She was completely undeterred by challenges that are unique to Montana – like reaching far into the remote and rural regions of our state with her service. In conversations I’ve had with artists about the program, the refrain was always the same: ‘the MAP program is the most important thing that has happened to me in my life.’ They also say, ‘this is the most helpful training I have ever received because it is geared specifically to the unique needs of artists.’ Cindy’s work with the council highlights her expertise, support, patience and skill with both the artists and coaches she trained in MAP. The process she developed is centered on the important concepts behind adult learning, where she has a special expertise.”
The legacy Cindy leaves for the arts council will be carried on by Sheri Jarvis, a ceramic artist from Butte. Sheri is a MAP “graduate” and a MAP coach who will fill this temporary assignment for one year following Cindy’s retirement. Fishbaugh says, “Because Sheri has experience first-hand with the ins and outs of the MAP program, combined with her expertise in working for varied organizations, she can hit the ground running both for artists and for working within a structured governmental agency.” Sheri holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Communication with a minor in Fine Art from Montana State University Billings.
Fishbaugh notes, “Sheri’s involvement will allow the agency the opportunity to have a seamless transition until the agency publically advertises the position on a permanent basis next summer. We’re also happy to have Cindy with us until November. Between now and then, Cindy will guide us in our efforts to ensure that the programs she created have a lasting legacy.”