Steamboat Springs The word synergy rolled out multiple times.
New Steamboat Springs Arts Council co-directors Kim Keith and Mical Hutson and board president Sue Oehme all uttered the phrase frequently in talking about their new partnership.
If nothing else, the word describes a sense of unity and stability for the Arts Council after a turbulent nine months.
Oehme thinks Hutson and Keith are a perfect fit for the organization.
"They have a tremendous amount of positive energy and creative thinking," Oehme said. "It’s going in a great new direction.”
Oehme said the board decided on co-directors because of the demands of the position. Oehme said in her 15 years working with the Arts Council, she recognized the position was too much for one person.
So when the Arts Council reorganized and met with its board and staff, Oehme said the decision to create co-directors seemed not only plausible but made the job realistic.
Hutson will oversee the Steamboat Springs Orchestra, cabaret, marketing and communications. Keith will guide programs, special events and facility management.
“We started just working side by side,” Hutson said. “It was going so well we thought we’d continue that.”
Hutson started in October, while Keith began in November.
The two hope to bring stability to a position that saw two executive directors resign in six months.
Former director Heather Shore resigned in late July. Lawrence Block resumed executive director duties in November but resigned in mid-December.
Neither Block nor the Arts Council would give a definitive reason for his resignation. The Arts Council leadership at the time said it would take its time in hiring a new executive director.
Oehme said after reorganizing and multiple meetings, the co-director idea surfaced.
In addition to meeting more regularly, Oehme said the board and staff have a clear vision for the mission of the Arts Council. She said she’s confident that stability and a level of transparency is in play.
Oehme said an independent audit of the Arts Council is underway, with results to the public likely available at the end of May.
“We feel a lot of good things are strongly in place,” she said. “There is a real sense of ownership for them and the board. It’s truly a working board.”
Keith and Hutson each were busy this week preparing for a full rest of the year and even filling in calendar events for 2015. In February, memberships had already increased by 53 percent and volunteer levels also were on the rise.
Hutson is in the process of putting together a Friends of the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra group that will help guide the symphony's vision moving forward. Interested individuals are invited to meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Depot Art Center.
Keith has been busy putting together the Youth Art Show that will take place April 4 as part of First Friday Artwalk and showcase more than 300 pieces of children’s art.
“I really think we’re moving in the right direction,” Oehme said.
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham