Claire Swinford Named Executive Director of the Bee Vradenburg Foundation

    Claire Swinford joins the local grantmaker after 10 years serving the nonprofit and arts sector.

    Claire Swinford headshot next to a stag statue

    Arts leader Claire Swinford will serve as the next executive director of the Bee Vradenburg Foundation beginning in January 2022, Foundation trustees announced today. Swinford takes the reins from David Siegel, who will become executive director of the Ent Center for the Performing Arts in the new year.

    “We are thrilled to welcome Claire Swinford as the Bee Vradenburg Foundation’s third executive director,” said Phil Kendall, president of the Foundation’s board of trustees. “Claire is a proven bridge-builder in the arts with a passion for amplifying less-heard artistic voices in the Pikes Peak Region. We look forward to seeing the Foundation – and by extension, our arts community – flourish in new ways under her leadership.”

    A lifelong Colorado resident, Swinford comes to the Foundation after more than five years at Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs, where she served as executive director of Downtown Ventures, the Partnership’s charitable nonprofit arm. She managed the award-winning Art on the Streets program, the City Center Speaker Series and the Conejos Mural Project, among many other initiatives.

    During her time with the Partnership, she was a founding member of the Avenue Creative Circuit, the Art of Accessibility Initiative, and an active participant in the State-Certified Creative Districts program of Colorado Creative Industries. Swinford previously held positions with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and as associate director of the Give! Campaign. Swinford also is a painter who has exhibited in several local galleries.

    The mission of the Bee Vradenburg Foundation is to advance the relevance, resilience, and greatness of arts in the Pikes Peak region, with an emphasis on building the organizational capacity of arts groups and supporting emerging and diverse artists.

    The Foundation was founded in 2002 to honor the legacy of Beatrice “Bee” Vradenburg, celebrated for transforming the cultural climate of Colorado Springs. Vradenburg served for over three decades as general manager of the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra and, among many accomplishments, shepherded the capital campaign and construction of the Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Colorado Springs.

    Today, the Foundation awards about $140,000 annually in grants to arts organizations across El Paso and Teller counties and provides leadership and technical support on various community initiatives impacting the arts. More information may be found at

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    Haley Harward is a young and vibrant woman who loves to read, drink coffee, and go hiking. She is a contributing writer for and is the media manager for Springs Media LLC.