Cultural center under new leadership

Former board member developing strategic plan, redefining mission

The Cortez Cultural Center is under new leadership for the third time in three years.

Donna Steward, a former board member for the center, started as the new executive director in late April and plans to be with the center for years to come.

Steward, who is originally from New York, moved to the area several years ago and immediately jumped into planning community activities by working for Cortez Heart and Soul and the local National Public Radio affiliate KSJD.

She was launching a collaborative working space for small-business owners and artists in February when the building she was renting on Main Street burned down. However, she feels that the cultural center functions in a similar way to bring people together and promote Cortez.

“I feel like I’m still on the same path,” she said.

Steward and the center’s board are in the process of developing a new strategic plan and redefining the mission of the center.

The center plans to continue popular annual events but hopes to develop a more predictable model than the center has used in the past. She said that in the center’s 27 years the center has been home to many kinds of programs.

“There’s nothing that I can say or do that hasn’t occurred here,” she said.

However, the center has already put change in motion including a website redesign and a revised summer schedule.