Festival of the Arts Announces David Abbott as Interim Executive Director

The Festival of the Arts Board of Directors proudly announces the first-ever Interim Executive Director for Festival of the Arts, David Abbott. This new position provides an evolution from an all-volunteer run event and offers consistent leadership year-to-year.  Abbott will lead Festival into its 50-year anniversary in 2019 and will begin work with 2018 event co-chairs Melissa Bush and Jessi Nix Gould on April 2, 2018.  Festival of the Arts takes place the first full weekend of June every year and is being celebrated in 2018 on June 1, 2 and 3 in downtown Grand Rapids.

“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.”

Abbott, an independent brand consultant serves several clients locally and has held a series of influential positions across West Michigan, including Development and Merchandise Director at ArtPrize and Owner of A.K. Rikk’s Menswear.  He also spent significant time working as Development Director at Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids and with Gilda’s Club’s Laughfest on the ideation and sponsor development. He also teaches as an adjunct at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University.

“My ‘why’ starts with relationships here in West Michigan and the creative collaboration that happens when we partner together.  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.” said David Abbott, Interim Executive Director for Festival of the Arts.  “I’m eager to share the story and history of the event along with the incredible impact on our arts culture here.  So looking forward to working with Melissa Bush and Jessi Nix Gould on the next chapter of nostalgic memories and renewed energy for the many fans of Festival as we approach our 50th-year celebration in 2019-2020.”

A primary direction of Abbott’s role focuses on fund development and building collaborative relationships within the community. Additionally, he will provide direction and continuity for the Festival Operations Committee and event Honorary Chairman, and support to the Board of Directors.

“This is very much a WE event,” added Abbott, “Volunteers remain the best gift to creating that WE and working for Laughfest and ArtPrize reminded me of the traditions of Festival of the Arts as one of the largest volunteer-run events in the United States.”

Get ready Grand Rapids – celebrate with us for the arts today and the tomorrows to come.