Arts Center director off to North Carolina | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Arts Center director off to North Carolina

Posted By on Thu, Jul 12, 2018 at 12:37 PM

click to enlarge HERMAN: Leaving Arkansas for North Carolina. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • HERMAN: Leaving Arkansas for North Carolina.
Todd Herman, the executive director of the Arkansas Arts Center, is leaving the institution for a job at The Mint Museum in Charlotte, N.C.

His departure, effective Aug. 10, comes as the Arts Center is about to embark on a $70 million renovation and expansion of the building, part of which dates to the 1930s. The Arts Center will close in fall of 2019 for construction and reopen sometime in 2022. The art collection of more than 15,000 artworks will be moved into storage and offices will be found for employees. Details on where programming, such as the Children's Theatre and the Museum School, are being worked out.

Laine Harbor, deputy director and chief financial officer, will act as interim director until the position is filled. Members of the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation board were meeting this morning at the Arts Center; those meetings are not open to the public, but it's anticipated the foundation will be heavily involved in the search for a new director.

The Arts Center, which is a public institution that receives support from the city of Little Rock, is being expanded with public dollars, in the form of a tax on hotel rooms, and private dollars. The foundation has not yet announced the amount of private support it hopes to receive.

A press release from the Arts Center quoted AAC Board of Trustees chairman Merritt Dyke:
"The Board is conducting a search for a successor to direct the AAC’s transitional goals of growth and expansion. ... Our priorities for the Arkansas Arts Center remain unchanged as we move towards the groundbreaking of our new facility in the fall of 2019. We are encouraged by the positive response and participation from the community regarding our capital campaign, co-chaired by Harriet and Warren Stephens. Everyone in the organization is focused on making the AAC an unparalleled cultural destination for the citizens of central Arkansas and beyond.” 
Dyke said the move to The Mint Museum, which has two campuses in Charlotte, will bring Herman closer to his family. Herman was hired at the Arts Center in 2011. He succeeded Nan Plummer, who was the Arts Center's second director after Director Townsend Wolfe's 34-year-tenure ended in 2002.

The Arts Center has expanded multiple times over the years, adding a new facility and mission in 1963. The latest expansion was 18 years ago. It was hoped that part of the Arts Center could remain open during the two-plus years of construction, but that proved too expensive.

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