When festival guru Kim Stoilis resigned as the executive director of the Art Colony Association just weeks before the organization's Bayou City Art Festival Downtown, the board began a search for a new leader. But the answer turned out to be right under their noses.
Art Colony Association Kelly Kindred, the festival's former operations manager and Stoilis' right-hand woman, has been named the new director after acting as interim director since September.
"I've been with this organization for nearly four years and I've done seven festivals with them, so I knew it was really important that they continue the vision that Kim had started," Kindred told CultureMap.
Stoilis left to become the new president and CEO of The Houston Festival Foundation, which organizes iFest.
Kindred hopes to continue that upward expansion, and alluded to working with the board and consultants to take the festival to the next level.
"As operations manager, I was really involved in the logistics and the nitty gritty, so that was a good place to launch," Kindred continued.
And those years of experience with the organization will fortify her new position: "I have absolutely learned the ins and outs of every single bit of this festival. I can do every single position that we have, and I have done almost every position at some point."
Kindred says that great deal of credit is due to Stoilis for making the Bayou City Art Festival one of the top art festivals in the United States. Throughout Stoilis' tenure, Kindred has worked hard by her side, helping to grow the festival while forging relationships with the board, the city and fellow employees. She hopes to continue that upward expansion, and alluded to working with the board and consultants to take the festival to the next level.
For now, the next thing in store for the organization is the annual spring festival at Memorial Park.
"We're just in the planning phases now, but we have to keep an eye on the fact that Memorial Park is under some distress," Kindred said.
As dead trees from the park's canopy are culled and chopped, Bayou City Art Festival has no plans to move from its home of 15 years.
"We will have to look at how we are going to work with that, whether there is something that we can do to support the park," Kindred said. "And we'll make sure that we are as green as possible."