Executive director resigns from Steamboat Springs Arts Council

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— For the second time in five months, the Steamboat Springs Art Council has had a shakeup at the top.

Lawrence Block, who started as executive director in early November, resigned Dec. 19.

“Let’s just say there was a difference of business philosophy between myself and the board,” Block said.

Block wouldn’t elaborate on the reason behind his departure.

Block took on the job Nov. 1 after former director Heather Shore resigned for what the board described as health issues. She began in late July.

The Arts Council issued a statement on Block’s resignation.

“The board of the SSAC was happy to have (Block) join our team and sorry things didn’t work out more positively,” the statement reads. “The board will not immediately look for a replacement for the executive director position. We will be taking our time to evaluate the organization’s needs and then make a determination on moving forward. We wish Lawrence the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

When Block was hired he was praised generally by the board. Block had applied for the position late in the process when Shore first was hired. When Shore left, Block's hiring seemed like a good fit.

“He’s extremely passionate about the arts and especially arts in the community,” then board president Grant Bursek said at the time of Block’s hiring. “His communication style is going to be instrumental in leading the Arts Council. He’s patient and understanding and is an excellent listener.”

What happened between then and now remains unclear. Neither side would comment further.

“I just don’t think it’s appropriate to say anything else,” Block said.

Despite the uncertainty and recent turnover, Steamboat Springs City Manager Deb Hinsvark said it wouldn’t change the city’s relationship with the Arts Council, which leases the Depot Art Center building from the city.

“Absolutely not,” she said. “To tell you from the city’s perspective, arts and culture for any city are important.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

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