By Taylor Sisk
CARRBORO â€“ In a double shot of adrenaline for The ArtsCenter, Jay Miller has been named interim director, and on Tuesday Miller announced that the center has received verbal confirmation of a $100,000 grant from the Nicholson Foundation. The grant will be used to assist The ArtsCenter with past-due accounts.
â€œIâ€™ve been involved with The ArtsCenter since 1982, as a musician and then as a vendor, and now most recently as a financial supporter and advisor,â€ Miller said on Tuesday. â€œIâ€™ve always been impressed with the wealth of creativity and culture that this institution brings to our community and am happy to assist them as interim director during this transition period.â€
Miller will be working under a service grant from Shared Visions Foundation. He is the president and executive director of Shared Visions, which helps build the organizational capacity of nonprofit agencies in Durham and Orange counties, and former owner of the Music Loft instrument store chain.
He assumed the role of interim director the first week of June and plans to stay on for six months or so.
In February, The ArtsCenterâ€™s board of directors announced they had voted to restructure the centerâ€™s leadership, eliminating the executive director position that Ed Camp had held since August 2009.
The ArtsCenter is now in phase two of an interim plan. The first phase involved re-evaluating the centerâ€™s finances and organizational structure.
In phase two, the management team is working to solidify the centerâ€™s financial and organizational structure to create, Miller said, â€œa sustainable framework that continues the excellent programming weâ€™ve presented for over 35 years.
â€œWeâ€™re now taking a closer look at how we do business,â€ Miller said, adding that The ArtsCenter is â€œclose to bringing in other foundation dollars.â€
He also said the center will be employing a â€œHoward Dean approachâ€ to fundraising, â€œasking for a little bit of money from a lot of people.â€
The center has also now brought onboard Julie Tomkovick as development director. Tomkovick served in the same role for The ArtsCenter in the â€™90s, a time when membership peaked at around 1,200. Current membership, she said, is now in the 300s.
Tomkovick will be reinvigorating the membership drive, re-upping existing members and actively recruiting new ones. She intends to communicate more consistently with current members, actively encourage event attendees to join and hold events to attract newcomers.
The center also will be introducing a program that will allow parents to drop their kids off for arts and crafts and other activities while attending events â€“ a â€œfamily date night out,â€ in Tomkovickâ€™s words.
Miller expressed optimism over The ArtsCenterâ€™s future:
â€œI think whatâ€™s most important thing is that weâ€™re improving our financial situation pretty dramatically. Weâ€™re in 100 percent better shape.â€