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Sharp and Cawrse bring more than two decades of expertise in nonprofits and tax districts to the growing District

(Jan. 8, 2024) 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 that Deputy Director Alye Sharp and Director of Urban Strategy and Design Sarah Cawrse, based on their expertise in nonprofits and tax districts, respectively, will assume interim co-leadership of the organization.

The move follows the recent resignation of Charity Von Guinness, who served as RiNo Art District’s Executive Director through 2023. Sharp and Cawrse will co-lead the organization for the next six months while the RiNo Art District Board of Directors evaluates next steps.

“We wish Charity all the best and look forward to exploring opportunities for collaboration with her in the future,” said Tracy Weil, co-founder of RiNo Art District and current RiNo Art District Board Chair. “I’m confident the District is in great hands moving into 2024. Alye has been with RiNo for years, and she has always put her heart and soul into this work. She’s been responsible for so much of the RiNo programming the community has come to love, and I’m excited for the District to have her leadership in this expanded capacity. As a co-leader, Sarah brings a wonderfully complementary skillset to the organization. She has a long history of implementing progressive place-based strategies that prioritize both community and environmental benefit as well as significant experience collaborating with diverse stakeholders, departments and agencies.”

Under the new organizational structure Sharp has been named Executive Director, Programs & Partnerships while Cawrse will become Executive Director, Urban Strategy & Design. Together, the leadership team will oversee RiNo Art District’s strategic vision, nonprofit and staff management, tax district work plans, infrastructure goals, small business and creative community advocacy and support efforts, as well as marketing and programming to further the district as a creative hub in Denver. Sharp will primarily oversee activities, events, and programs for RiNo’s two nonprofits, Keep RiNo Wild and the RiNo Art District. Cawrse will primarily oversee economic, public realm, and infrastructure initiatives for the Business Improvement District (BID) and General Improvement District (GID).

Serving as Deputy Director since 2022, Sharp led new and existing strategic partnerships between the District’s broad spectrum of stakeholders including established businesses, entrepreneurs, developers and visitors. Spearheading the organization’s outreach and engagement efforts at the city and state level, Sharp has also overseen RiNo’s programs and organizational strategy, ensuring the organization’s collaboration honors the historic neighborhoods in the area. She brings extensive experience in the nonprofit arts sector, having worked with the Art District on Santa Fe, Centro Inc. and ArtWorks Cincinnati before joining RiNo in 2014 as Community Outreach Director. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration in Economics from University of Florida and earned a master’s in Public Administration from University of Colorado Denver.

Prior to joining RiNo Art District in 2023, Cawrse served as a Principal City Planner and Urban Designer for the City of Boulder. She also spent five years at the City and County of Denver as a Senior City Planner and Urban Designer. Her work in local government included developing plans and policies, innovative community engagement efforts and successfully overseeing and implementing complex regulatory projects.

She also brings valuable experience as a landscape architect and urban designer at Design Workshop and was involved in a variety of projects ranging from urban planning to site design with a focus on master plans for mixed-use development, parks and open space. Cawrse received a Bachelor’s of Landscape Architecture from California Polytechnic State University, and a master’s in Urban Design from Newcastle University in the UK.

RiNo Art District HQ
1320 27th St
Denver, CO 80205

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