COLUMBIA — Chris Stevens and Jennifer Perlow announced their departure from Columbia at a private party Friday in the Perlow-Stevens Gallery.
Stevens is the manager of the city's Office of Cultural Affairs, and Perlow is the owner of Perlow-Stevens Gallery.
Stevens and Perlow, who are married, have decided to move to Denver after Perlow took a position with consulting firm Nine Dot Arts and their daughter, Charlie, 11, was accepted to attend the Denver School of the Arts, with a special emphasis in guitar.
“It is a great opportunity for Charlie. If she does well, it will open many doors for her,” Stevens said.
Stevens will resign as manager of the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs by the end of July, Carol Rhodes, assistant city manager, said Monday. He will pursue a position in the arts in Denver, Stevens said.
The Perlow-Stevens Gallery at 1025 E. Walnut St. is now for sale. “We want the gallery to keep going,” Stevens said. “We need the people to support the gallery in order to achieve an easy transition.”
Although Perlow will be leaving in May, employees will keep the gallery open until June.
Both Stevens and Perlow graduated from MU. They opened the Perlow-Stevens Gallery in 2006 and relocated the business to the North Village Arts District in 2011. The gallery has exhibits featuring local, regional and national art involving painting, photography, sculpture, wood, jewelry, fiber, ceramics and glass.
"It has been a great joy and pleasure to have an art gallery in Columbia," Perlow said.
Since Stevens took office December 2011, he has expanded marketing and raised awareness for the arts, he said. Stevens helped establish the Community Arts Foundation and led the creation of the first strategic plan for the Office of Cultural Affairs. He also served as cultural ambassador for the city.
“It has been an honor to work on behalf of the arts and the City of Columbia,” Stevens said in a news release.
Rhodes said a national search for Stevens’ replacement will begin soon.
Stevens described the 2013 commemorative poster, the traffic box art and the Short Street Garage as the most relevant future projects for the Office of Cultural Affairs.
“There has been a big growth in Columbia’s arts in the last five to seven years,” Stevens said. “I hope the community will continue to support the arts after our departure.”