Columbia is a city that is alive with arts and culture; and Chris Stevens is ready to take all that greatness to the next level. Beginning December 19, he will get that opportunity as he begins his duties as the new manager for the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA).
City Manager Mike Matthes made the official appointment and says he believes Stevens will be a visionary force and an advocate for the arts in Columbia. Since meeting, the two have discussed some great ideas about how to help more people, organizations and businesses get connected to the arts.
With a background in marketing and development, Stevens is focused on helping the city’s art agencies grow. Some of his goals include increasing community attendance and participation in the arts, coordinating more activities with the Columbia Convention & Visitors Bureau to draw more tourists to the area’s diverse arts community, and to establish an arts foundation to help better support the arts financially.
Stevens has worked 12 years with Boone County National Bank and also has a rich arts history that includes service on the city’s Cultural Affairs Commission, the Standing Committee for Public Art, the Missouri Arts Council’s Community Arts Panel, and as treasurer for Ragtag Film and the True/False Film Festival. He holds a bachelors degree in speech communications and a minor in arts history from theUniversityofMissouri, and was a fine arts appraiser.
He is successor to former manager Marie Nau Hunter. Utility Services Specialist Connie Kacprowicz, on loan from Columbia Water & Light, has served as interim manager since March 14.