They say it about every year, but organizers are serious about promoting the latest lineup for WAVE as the best one yet.
Entering its fourth year, WAVE is a multi-day festival built around everything that is light, water and sound. Returning May 30 to June 2, the festival has become one of Breckenridge’s signature summertime events, complete with wild public art installations, exciting interactive exhibits and artistic performances that defy what’s possible, all produced by the Breckenridge Creative Arts, also known as BreckCreate.
But this year’s festival will come with extra significance, as it will be the last time BCA president and CEO Robb Woulfe will have a hand in organizing it. He’s stepping down later this summer so he can pursue new creative ventures in a bigger market. Woulfe’s last day at the BCA will be July 1.
“I have so much enjoyed my time in Breckenridge, and I am very proud of all the things that BCA and I were able to accomplish these past five years,” he said. “It has been a privilege to be a part of this vibrant creative community and to work with extraordinary artists, a dedicated board and staff, and many volunteers.”
Woufle was recruited to lead the BCA when the new organization when it was created in 2014. At the time, he recalled, the BCA was charged with being “the umbrella organization” covering local arts groups, managing the town’s arts facilities and leveraging Breckenridge’s many creative assets to help make it one of the premiere mountain destinations in the world. Looking back, Woulfe said, he feels good about what he and his team have done.
Over the years, Woulfe has been both the BCA’s chief spokesperson and its top strategist, working to identify opportunities and alliances with other groups in town to support local arts. While the BCA might get the most attention for producing large-scale festivals — like WAVE or the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts — Woulfe and his team have had a unique role that’s been part landlord, part producer and entirely focused on being an advocate for the arts.
Woulfe credits much of the BCA’s success over the last five-plus years to his team and the considerable latitude afforded to him and the BCA by the town, which provides the bulk of the organization’s funding. Now that he’s about to leave the BCA, Woulfe is thankful for the opportunity.
“I am especially grateful to the town of Breckenridge for affording me the opportunity to redefine what a mountain town arts organization can be,” Woulfe said of his role. “It wasn’t easy making the decision to leave a job that I enjoy, but I am confident that this is the right time for me and for BCA.”
Woulfe’s decision comes as the town is looking to redefine the role of BCA and shift the organization from promoting Breckenridge into augmenting the local experience. For Woulfe, it’s an exciting time at the BCA, and he’s looking forward to watching it find more success in the years to come.
During his time in Breckenridge, Woulfe is credited with leading many ambitious and landscape-changing initiatives, including launching a series of innovative festivals and exhibitions, not limited the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts and WAVE.
The BCA also developed year-round multidisciplinary presenting program featuring performing arts, lectures and films while spearheading the opening and activation of the Breckenridge Arts District and designing the artist residency program, which has brought dozens of artist to live in Breckenridge while they share their crafts with visitors and the community.
Woulfe wouldn’t mind being remembered in Breckenridge for all the eye candy from the big festivals the BCA has produced — in fact, he’s quite proud of that — but he’s most proud of the work that has “relevance,” like the BCA’s recently commissioned art projects that come with environmental messages.
“Certainly we do our fair share of presenting (through the big festivals), but I think some of the work we’ve done producing and commissioning projects, that work has been some of the most meaningful and rewarding for me and I hope for the community, as well,” Woulfe said.
Under his leadership, the BCA has garnered a number of honors and awards, including Breckenridge being ranked No. 1 in the U.S. Arts Vibrancy Index for small communities, securing multiple grants from the National Endowment the Arts, achieving a state-certified creative district designation for the town and winning the Colorado Governor’s Award for Outstanding Community Tourism Initiative, just to name a few.
For Woulfe, it was just fun collaborating with other groups, commissioning work and offering such a the variety of work to the community, which he believes is the kind of work that might not have otherwise made its way to a small mountain town or even Colorado for that matter.
Reached Wednesday over the phone, Breckenridge Mayor Eric Mamula was highly complimentary of Woulfe and his work at the BCA over the last five years, saying that Woulfe has been “intelligent, creative and highly motivated” throughout his time in Breckenridge.
“I think he’s done a great job here,” Maulma said, adding that the BCA board will name Woulfe’s replacement. “I’m confident they will find the right person to take us into the next phase of this arts journey for the town.”
For more about WAVE or the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts, the lineup for which runs August 9-18 and has just been released, go to BreckCreate.org.