Movers and Shakers Week Ending 12.01.23

Denver International Airport Announces New Chief of Staff

Maria G. Meleandez

This week, Denver International Airport (DEN) announced the appointment of Maria G. Meleandez as its chief of staff. As one of five executive vice presidents at the airport, she will oversee government affairs and global public policy, culture and strategy, and the Center of Equity and Excellence in Aviation, among other duties.

Meleandez comes to DEN from The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) where she served as the deputy executive officer. In an agency of 11,000 employees and an annual budget of $8.5 billion, she worked to advance the implementation of high-impact, community-centered workforce investments and both internal agency and outward-facing programs and projects.

Before joining LA Metro, she excelled in numerous capacities, leading large-scale programs within the education, healthcare, and infrastructure industries. Meleandez holds a master’s degree in business administration, is a licensed registered nurse, and Hudson-trained executive coach.

“Maria has a long and successful history of fostering inclusive environments,” said DEN CEO Phil Washington, “With the many critical initiatives we have underway at DEN, she is the ideal leader to ensure that we are moving projects and initiatives forward efficiently and with thoughtful and comprehensive input. Maria will make a great addition to the DEN Executive Team.”

Meleandez will begin her position at DEN on January 8, 2024.

RiNo Art District Names Robert Gray as Facilities and Events Manager

Robert Gray

RiNo Art District, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit arts organization dedicated to fostering a welcoming, creative community where a diversity of artists, residents and businesses thrive, today announced the hire of Robert Gray, who has joined the organization as facilities and events manager.

“As a seasoned art dealer and curator, RiNo Art District has been fortunate to work with Robert in a variety of endeavors through the years, so when he expressed interest in spearheading our facilities and events with the district, we were thrilled,” said Charity Von Guinness, executive director of RiNo Art District. “Robert’s strong connection to RiNo’s mission, coupled with his shared dedication to supporting access, collaboration, and education across the arts community, along with his extensive experience activating spaces with creative arts programming and installations, made him an ideal fit for this role. With Robert on the team, we’re very excited to evolve the dynamic programming and events across the district.”

In his role, Gray will manage daily activities, events and facilities operated by RiNo Art District. Gray will also lead programming and activities at ArtPark within Arkins Park, a creative hub with sprawling public green space located at 1900 35th Street. ArtPark is home to the Bob Ragland Branch of the Denver Public Library, the Denver Zine library, RedLine Contemporary Art Center, Alto Gallery, Comal and Truss House, a 4,000-square-foot community and performance art venue that opened this past summer.

“I look forward to bringing my experience to collaborate with other creatives in the industry, fostering a healthy, welcoming and inclusive arts district,” said Gray. “I’ve been fortunate to share more public art across the city, and ArtPark is one of my favorite green spaces in the city — I’m excited to help it grow and bring in more creative talent and pieces for the community to experience.”

Since moving to Denver from Chicago in 2018, Gray has worked with some of the city’s top arts organizations, including the Denver Art Museum, and with Denver Arts & Venues to curate arts programming for the Major League Baseball ALL-Star game in 2021, which included mural installations of Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron in Denver’s historic Five Points neighborhood. He is the founding curator of the Black Love Mural Festival, an event that celebrates Black empowerment and identity through public art, and serves as Marketing Director for IRL Art, a Denver-based arts collective that specializes in large scale arts installations for festivals, pop-up galleries and other unique experiences that he founded with Denver-based artist Annie Phillips.

To learn more, visit the RiNo ArtPark website for an ongoing list of performances and events in Arkins Park. Groups interested in using the new space for events or performances can reach out to rob@rinoartdistrict.

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