Festival Mozaic executive director leaves to oversee Downtown SLO

Bettina Swigger has been named the new executive director of Downtown SLO.
Bettina Swigger has been named the new executive director of Downtown SLO. Courtesy Photo

The executive director of San Luis Obispo’s Festival Mozaic has moved into a new role at the helm of the nonprofit Downtown SLO.

Bettina Swigger has been named the chief executive officer of the nonprofit, which advocates for downtown business and oversees popular events such as the annual Holiday Parade, Concerts in the Plaza, and the Downtown SLO Farmers Market, among other roles.

Swigger, who’s replacing Dominic Tartaglia, has worked for 15 years in the nonprofit sector as a manager and executive director. Tartaglia announced in June that he was leaving the organization in June to pursue a career in law enforcement.

”With a proven track record in developing programs, managing events, and establishing collaborative relationships to bolster communities, (Swigger) is committed to building organizations and creating successful communities,” said Rodessa Newton, board president of Downtown SLO, in a statement.

Swigger previously was the executive director of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region in Colorado Springs, operating their downtown arts information space and working to advocate for arts, culture, and economic development.

She moved to San Luis Obispo from Colorado Springs in 2011 to take over the leadership role of Festival Mozaic, and oversaw the launch of new partnerships and collaborations with artists and arts organizations.

“Her relationships with donors, businesspeople, and local government and municipalities have leveraged the role a music festival can play as a vital part of the fabric of community identity, and a significant economic driver,” Newton said.

Additionally, Swigger’s community presence has included serving as a radio host on KCBX, and she graduated from Leadership SLO Class XXI.

Tipsy Gypsies 2017 Concerts in the Plaza.jpg
The Tipsy Gypsies pictured during the 2017 Concerts in the Plaza series. Courtesy of Downtown SLO

Swigger will be responsible for guiding Downtown SLO through a time of transition, with downtown’s growth, the development of Hotel San Luis Obispo and Hotel Serra, and anticipated implementation of a Property-Based Business Improvement District (PBID), according to Downtown SLO officials.

Other cities’ downtowns such as Bakersfield, Berkeley and Sacramento have implemented property-based business improvement districts, where property owners enter into a special assessment district to improve their commercial districts.

Swigger joins the organization after a relatively recent rebrand, change in organizational identity, and move to ground floor retail space. Downtown SLO has more than 600 business members.

“I look forward to continuing the important work of creating a hospitable and welcoming environment for businesses and residents, bolstering tourism, enhancing livability, and creating more opportunities for people to come together,” Swigger said in a statement.

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