Downtown festival names first director
A long-time downtown arts festival has its first executive director.
David Abbott will be the interim executive director this year of the three-day Festival of the Arts, which was previously run by volunteers.
Abbott will begin working today in collaboration with co-chairs Melissa Bush and Jessi Nix Gould to prepare for this year’s event, scheduled June 1-3 in Grand Rapids.
He will officially assume the executive director’s position for the 2019 event. Abbott will oversee the Festival Operation Committee and the event’s honorary chairs, as well as support the board of directors. He also will be charged with fundraising and building community relationships.
“My ‘why’ starts with relationships here in West Michigan and the creative collaboration that happens when we partner together,” Abbott said. “This new position offers the great joy of building bridges with all of the arts and artists in our community. Festival remains an incredible platform and showcase for talents of every age.”
Abbott said he is familiar with engaging the community. He is an independent brand consultant who works with several local clients and formerly served as development and merchandise director for ArtPrize and owner of A.K. Rikk’s Menswear.
He also has worked as a development director at Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids and in idea and sponsor development for Gilda’s Club’s LaughFest. Abbott is an adjunct professor at Kendall College of Art and Design.
“We are exceedingly happy to have David Abbott on board with Festival of the Arts,” said Fred Bivins, Festival of the Arts board member and owner of Vinecroft Studio. “He is going to take Festival in a good direction, and I have the utmost confidence in his abilities.”
The Festival of Arts features performances, art exhibitions and food booths. Individuals also can make their own art or purchase pieces from many West Michigan artists. The event is free and open to the public.