2022 Impact COMO Award Winner

Kelsey Hammond

Most Impactful Executive Director

Columbia Art League

Honorable Mentions

Mathew Gass, Burrell Behavioral Health
Enola-Riann White, Columbia Entertainment Company

Having been the executive director of the Columbia Art League for three years, Kelsey Hammond jokingly refers to an executive director as part octopus, part magician, part contortionist, and part cheerleader. 

“You’ve got your hand in everything, you’re trying to make funding appear out of nowhere, you’ve got to remain incredibly flexible, and you happily share your enthusiasm for your mission and what your organization does,” Kelsey says. 

Ann Merrifield says Kelsey’s success speaks for itself. 

“The Art Bus pilot program hosted 243 children, children’s classes enrolled 170 during the school year and 100 in summer workshops; CAL paid out over $44,000 to artists this year. CAL curated 29 gallery shows in 2021 and managed the Community Exhibits Program that hung 520 art works by local artists in government offices and businesses in Columbia, and put on 36 outreach events in the past year.” 

“Of all these accomplishments, we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about Kelsey’s accomplishments with Art in the Park,” Ann says. “With 73 artists and almost 15,000 attendees, Art in the Park appealed to diverse audiences, showcased new features and expanded the presence of community non-profits such as the Missouri Symphony Society and 10 other local nonprofits.”

Kelsey credits the incredible volunteers, board members, community members, artists, and former directors for keeping CAL going for the last 60+ years. “I am so happy to work for an organization that was built on the idea that Arts are essential to being human,” Kelsey says.