Columbus Arts Council looking for new executive director

September 13, 2018

The Columbus Arts Council has started its search for a new executive director to head the organization.

Rodd Magg held the position for the past year and a half and handed in his resignation letter two weeks ago, according to Linda Wheatley, president of the organization’s Board of Directors. Magg declined to speak to The Columbus Telegram, however, Wheatley said that Magg resigned after accepting a full- time job elsewhere.

“Being a nonprofit, we just can’t compete salary wise with places that offer full-time employment and benefits,” Wheatley said.

Susan McClure, treasurer of the Arts Council, said that all money raised for the organization comes from donations and grants, with the latter predominately going towards event hosting. With this being the case, it can be difficult for the organization to offer a competitive salary for the executive director position.

“We understood why it happened, but we didn’t expect it to happen,” McClure said. “It’s tough because it’s a nonprofit and we have to compete against bigger companies that can offer health benefits and a lot more benefits than we can.”

The Art Council started advertising for the position on websites like Facebook and Indeed and via word of mouth. The job is part time, 30 hours a week and responsibilities include fundraising, volunteer and membership recruitment, event planning and gallery management.

Wheatley said she and her colleagues are looking for someone possessing strong interpersonal skills, along with grant writing experience, website editing abilities and proficiency with Microsoft Office and Publisher. Anyone interested in the job is encouraged to email a letter of interest and resume to arts@megavision.com.

Wheatley is currently acting as director until the position is filled. The Arts Council is hoping to find someone as soon as possible, but last time there was a vacancy it took it six months to fill the void.

“You have to have a heart for nonprofit, it’s a little different atmosphere,” Wheatley said. “So it takes the right person. And it doesn’t have to be an artist per say, but somebody who loves the arts, because you can’t promote it if you don’t love it yourself.”

In the meantime, the group continues with its goal of promoting local art in the area. Recently, the group added two new artists’ works for sale at the council’s gift shop in its gallery and are preparing for the 2018 Art Crawl.

From 1-5 p.m. on Oct. 21, five places across the county will hosts local artists and have their work for sale. These venues include The Columbus Art Gallery in the lower level of the Columbus Library, the Artists Studio of Lois Smith, Platte Valley Printing, Central Community College and Dave Makovicka Wood Carvings.

Tickets can be purchased at the gallery for $20 for members and $25 for non members or at any of the five participating locations the day of the event.

McClure said that the event, along with the rest of the group’s efforts, are aimed at promoting local art within the community.

“It’s a way to expose people to another piece of the pie besides sports, which seems to be No. 1,” McClure said.

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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