Bright future for Arts Council
There is always that moment of trepidation when you pass the reins of something significant over to someone else, an unsettling uncertainty as to how they are going to fit in or if they will be successful in their new endeavour. I had the good fortune - it really was, as functional hand-offs are rare - to spend the last week with the new executive director of Arts Council Wood Buffalo, Constance Scarlett. I'm so grateful to the board for facilitating and supporting this "passing the baton" week.
As she sorted out her new world in the physical sense, figuring out her office, technology, etc, I was able to walk her through our activities over the past year and introduce her to a number of key stakeholders.
Living in Fort McMurray since January - her husband Mike teaches Kinesiology at Keyano College - Constance comes into this role from a position with the Alberta Museums Association, where she excelled as advancement lead, working with museums across Alberta. Her strengths in stakeholder relations, grant writing, advocacy and government relations will serve the Arts Council, and by extension, the community, exceptionally well.
I was able to observe and experience her depth of understanding, context, and vision for what we are all looking for in Wood Buffalo in terms of the arts. She is a great listener, very approachable, and well informed about the nuances of arts administration. There is no question in my mind that the board made a sage choice in engaging Constance in the leadership role of this representative arts organization. She will do so much to move it forward, working closely with a very strong and engaged board.
I'm sure that you will hear more about Constance in the coming weeks and months, profile interviews and the like, but from my perspective as "the former", the current ED is an exceptional arts champion, administrator, connector, and leader. She is also an exceptional human being, which makes all the difference in the world.