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ArtsCenter loses executive director

By Susan Dickson
Staff Writer

The ArtsCenter Board of Directors announced last week that board members had voted to restructure the center’s leadership, eliminating both the executive director and Youth Performing Arts Conservatory director positions.

Board Chair Karen Regan said board members and staff would fill the gaps left by the empty positions. According to an ArtsCenter press release, the adjustments are a reaction to “shifts in funding that affect [The ArtsCenter’s] current budget.”

Ed Camp, who was hired as executive director in August 2009, will remain as director through Friday, after which a volunteer interim executive director will be named, Regan said. Prior to coming to The ArtsCenter, Camp served as general manager of University Mall.

Lawruh Lindsey, the director of YPAC, submitted her resignation in December and her last day will be Monday. Regan said they don’t plan to fill her position as the board looks at the leadership structure of The ArtsCenter and YPAC.

According to Regan, The ArtsCenter has struggled financially with the economic downturn, experiencing a loss of more than $100,000 annually over the last few years.

In addition, The ArtsCenter closed out a three-month fundraising campaign last summer with $160,000, less than half of its $350,000 goal. The drive was intended to raise funds for a long list of needs, including a new sound system for the theater, repairs to the building’s sprinkler system and a new dance floor in the center’s dance studio. About 80 percent of The ArtsCenter’s $1.6 million budget is funded through program and class fees; the remaining 20 percent comes from grants, local governments and donations.

Had the campaign met its goal, Regan said, “we might be considering different things.”

The interim director will serve as a figurehead while the board develops a plan to parcel out the responsibilities of the executive director and YPAC director, according to Regan.

“Certain board members are taking over certain areas,” she said. “For each kind of key issue area, we’ll work to identify a staff member or a board member.

“The big decisions will always come through the executive committee,” she added.

With the elimination of the two positions, the board will look at the overall structure of ArtsCenter leadership to determine if changes need to be made on a more permanent basis.

“That’s one of the things that we really are trying to figure out over the next couple of months … if the structure that The ArtsCenter’s had over the past couple of decades is the best one or if there’s a better model,” she said.

In the meantime, ArtsCenter programs – including YPAC – are still going strong, Regan added.

“We’re still a strong organization with a good future ahead of us,” she said. “The board and staff are ready for looking at things with fresh eyes.”

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