Two resign from Arts Commission after director fired
SALEM — Two members of the Oregon Arts Commission have resigned after the agency's 19-year director was fired.
Royal Nebeker and Henry Sayre left their volunteer positions on Friday. Both told the Statesman Journal they were blindsided by the decision to fire Christine D'Arcy as director of the arts commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust and opposed it.
The arts commission distributes grants using money from the Oregon Legislature, the cultural trust and the National Endowment for the Arts to programs ranging from the Oregon Ballet Theater to Salem's World Beat Festival.
D'Arcy said Tim McCabe, director of the Oregon Business Development Department, which oversees the arts commission, told her that leadership has a “different vision” for the arts commission.
“I didn't resign,” D'Arcy told the Statesman Journal. “I was basically told on Monday that I wasn't going to be the executive director of the Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon Cultural Trust any longer.”
Nathan Buehler, a spokesman for the Business Development Department, which handles economic development, didn't elaborate on the new vision but said D'Arcy's replacement might have different duties. He said the parties involved would consider dividing oversight of the arts commission and the cultural trust into separate positions.
“They're going to use this as an opportunity to look at that position ... and see what the best structure is,” Buehler said.
The search for D'Arcy's replacement would begin immediately, he said.
Nebeker said he sees no need for changes.
“We have a nationally recognized arts commission,” he said. “We have a prestigious position within the national arts community. We are often used as a model.”
He and Sayre said discussions about the future of the arts commission have not been brought to the board members.
Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com