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Florence Little Theatre seeks Business Administrator

Florence Little Theatre is looking for its next business administrator. The position calls for a salaried, "at-will" employee working evenings and weekend hours during productions and classes. The person chosen for the position will have administrative and production responsibilities. A listing of those and instructions on how to apply can be found here. A deadline to apply was not given.

The Organization

Florence Little Theatre provides excellence in theatre entertainment and education in an environment of friendliness and mutual respect, which encourages community participation and support. Now in its 95th year, the Florence Little Theatre is more committed than ever to the pursuit of this mission, with a strategy to reach all segments of the community and to realize its full potential as a regional and educational resource for the theatre arts. FLT's Mission Statement • To provide excellence in live theatre entertainment • To reach out to the entire community, thereby, ensuring a diverse volunteer participation • To educate people of all ages in the skills of live theatre and encourage them to reach their full potential as they participate in productions • To introduce the youth in our local schools to the art of live theatre through our Children’s Theatre program • To provide the best professional and volunteer leadership at all levels of the theatre’s operation • To maintain good stewardship of finances so that contributors and supporters can be assured of the financial integrity of the Theatre

Florence Little Theatre welcomes new executive director

From the Florence News Journal

Florence Little Theatre President Dan Abernathy is thrilled to introduce FLT’s new executive director, Leila Ibrahim, who joined the staff on Feb. 23. “After a nationwide search, we are excited to have Leila bring her experience and creativity to the FLT family,” commented Abernathy. “As we continue to raise the quality of our productions and programs, we are fortunate to have someone with Leila’s ability to raise the quality of the overall operations.We expect many changes over the next couple of years that will make the holistic experience of attending an event match the wonderful productions that FLT brings to life.” Born and raised outside Atlanta, Ga., Leila comes to Florence from Philadelphia where she attended graduate school and worked as box office manager for an arena. She has a masters degree in arts administration from Drexel University in Philadelphia and a BBA degree from Mercer University in Macon, Ga. All through her college years in Macon, she served as the assistant to the opera director at Mercer, working with students and their productions. Although not a performer, Leila enjoyed working backstage with various productions. “I’ve done almost everything except perform,” she said. “I love the theatre and being a part of the process. Although I don’t have the talent to perform on stage, I can still support the performance.” Leila realized during her undergraduate studies that she could combine her love of theatre and working behind the scenes with a business degree. While a college student, she interned with the Grand Opera House in Macon and after graduation spent five years as fulltime staff. She served many roles with this 1,000-seat venue which hosts touring productions, including interim director. Leila also has worked as a consultant with Tickets.com helping with training and box office conversion, so she has experience working on both sides of the box office. Her first goal at FLT is to the upgrade the ticketing software, she said. Leila said everyone she has met since moving to Florence has been very welcoming. “I feel part of the FLT family already.” She is impressed with the FLT’s gorgeous facility and long history of excellence in shows. “You are on par with the professional theatres I have worked with,” she commented. “I am excited to be here and excited to work with the volunteers, ticket holders, the board of directors, and to continue to produce excellent shows.” For more information about the Florence Little Theatre or to speak with Leila, you may contact her at 662-3731.

Florence and Lancaster recognized for revitalization and development

Congratulations to the cities of Florence and Lancaster for being recognized by the Municipal Association of South Carolina for downtown revitalization and economic development efforts. In both cases, arts and culture organizations (most of whom have been awarded S.C. Arts Commission grants over the years) played key roles in the cities' achievements. These examples of partnerships and cooperative planning between local governments, educational institutions and arts organizations are models in how to attract new businesses and visitors. Florence's plan for arts and cultural development included a new library and theatre, and a soon-to-be new museum, and has culminated in the state-of-the-art Francis Marion Performing Arts Center:

In 2005, the City of Florence hired a consultant to create a master plan for downtown redevelopment. The plan identified arts and cultural development as a necessity to encourage renewal for the city center. In the years that followed, a new library and theatre were constructed, and the city anticipates the opening of a new museum this year. But the crown jewel of these new developments is the state-of-the-art Francis Marion Performing Arts Center, located in the heart of downtown Florence. Francis Marion University Performing Arts CenterThe $37 million facility boasts a main stage and outdoor amphitheater, a garden courtyard, an academic wing, and upper and lower lobbies for events and receptions. It has been honored with architectural awards for its innovative use of sustainable materials. Officials formed partnerships with private entities to secure the land and fund construction of the Center. The partnership formed between the city and the university is a mutually beneficial one. Francis Marion handles the ongoing costs and daily operation of the performing arts center and, in return, the university’s theatre and fine arts department is in the academic wing of the facility. Pee Dee residents are winners as well, as they now have a venue to enjoy musical and theatrical performances close to home. Using culture and the arts as an economic development tool is working in Florence. After the performing arts center was constructed, a boutique hotel opened downtown. New businesses and restaurants are flourishing as well, and office and retail space in the city center is being redeveloped for new merchants.
The City of Lancaster partnered with USC Lancaster to open a new Native American Studies Center downtown, which provided more room for the half-million Catawba artifacts—the world’s largest Catawba collection—in the school’s possession, as well as space for a growing number of students attending USCL:
Downtown Lancaster needed an anchor. The University of South Carolina Lancaster needed space to store and showcase its large collection of Catawba pottery and artifacts. A partnership was born. Plans for the Native American Studies Center began when Lancaster municipal officials met with community groups to discuss cultural tourism and historical assets as catalysts for downtown revitalization. They brought faculty in on the conversations. The faculty shared that they were in desperate need of more room for the half-million Catawba artifacts—the world’s largest Catawba collection—in the school’s possession, as well as space for a growing number of students attending USCL. Native American Studies CenterThe City of Lancaster purchased a long-empty furniture store on Main Street using funds raised from hospitality taxes and a Duke Energy grant. Officials worked with faculty from USCL’s Native American Studies department to design classrooms, labs and galleries in the renovated space. The city improved existing parking and created additional parking areas. Working with regional tourism and preservation groups, the city then developed a marketing plan to promote the new center. Locating a cultural attraction downtown has been a boon for tourism in Lancaster. Even better, there are more college students spending time—and dollars—in the city center. The project has been so successful that officials are working with USCL to relocate more of the University’s departments downtown. Workshops, festivals, seminars and other public events are in the works as well to draw more people to the Native American Studies Center. A once-empty building is now a cultural asset, and downtown Lancaster is once again the center of conversation.
The awards were presented at the MASC's annual meeting July 20. Via: Municipal Association of South Carolina

Florence Regional Arts Alliance announces 2013 Arts Awards recipients

The Florence Regional Arts Alliance (FRAA) recently announced its 2013 Arts Awards recipients. Among the winners were two local arts leaders, one arts organization and a global corporation. “We’re very fortunate in Florence County to have more worthy candidates than awards to give away,” said Quincy Kennedy, president of FRAA. “We feel like our board did a great job in narrowing down the nominations we received from the community; it’s not an easy task." Jane Madden, the engine behind the Art Trail Gallery’s quick and continued success, received the John W. Baker Distinguished Service Award. Madden’s efforts over the last five years have been a major factor in the “people side” of Florence’s downtown revitalization. “As improvements are continuously being made downtown, Jane is one of the main people promoting what's going on and what progress is being made,” said Kennedy. The Florence Little Theatre received the Outstanding Arts Organization Award. “Most people are aware of the great shows FLT produces. Not everyone is aware of the outstanding programming they put on for young people and for lifelong learners through their Senior Readers Group. The impact FLT has on Florence County is truly amazing,” said Bruce Douglas, executive director of FRAA. The 2013 Business & Arts Partnership Award recipient is Honda of South Carolina. Honda, which operates out of Timmonsville, supports several community-based programs, projects and events, both arts and non-arts-related. “Honda’s continuous support of the arts, and the Arts Alliance, is why they are receiving this award,” said Kennedy. Honda partners with FRAA to present the Excellence in Arts Education Awards to Florence County’s public high schools. Honda also funds FRAA’s quarterly grants program, which disburses money to organizations, artists and teachers throughout Florence County. The inaugural Frank Crow Service Award winner is Bill Kress. Kress, a long-time Florence Regional Arts Alliance board member, staff member and volunteer, worked with Crow and was honored to receive the award. “This award means a lot to me because it has Frank’s name on it,” said Kress. Crow served as FRAA’s director from 2003-2012 before medical issues forced him into retirement. The Crow Award will be presented annually to an FRAA board member, staff member or volunteer who has had a tremendous impact on the organization. The winners were presented with handmade clay trophies made by Pee Dee artist Patz Fowle. In 2014, FRAA will add a fifth award to its lineup. The Greg Fry Arts Educator of the Year Award will be presented in May of next year. More information about the award will be announced soon. Click the screen below to view a short video produced by FRAA to honor the winners.. 2013 Florence Regional Arts Alliance Awards from Harrison Waters on Vimeo. For more information about these awards or any other Florence Regional Arts Alliance program, contact Bruce Douglas at peedeearts@gmail.com. Via: Florence Regional Arts Alliance

Remembering arts visionary Nick Zeigler of Florence

We note with sadness the passing of Eugene N. "Nick" Zeigler of Florence, who spent a lifetime leading the development of and supporting the arts and education in his local community and in South Carolina. As a state Senator, Zeigler wrote and sponsored the legislation that created the South Carolina Arts Commission in 1967. He helped create the Florence Little Theatre in 1939 and the Florence Symphony in 1950 and founded the Florence Fine Arts Council in 1954. As president of the Florence Museum, he championed the organization's move to its present location in 1953. He was also a playwright, author, historian and civil rights advocate. Zeigler was one of the first four recipients of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Awards presented by the S.C. Arts Commission in 1972. An excerpt from "Marking 40 Years and Moving Forward" (a history of the S.C. Arts Commission): "On Oct. 28, 1965, Gov. Robert E. McNair issued Executive Order No. 5, creating the South Carolina Inter-Agency Council on Arts and Humanities, chaired by E. N. "Nick" Zeigler of Florence. The goal of the council was "to conduct a study of the arts in South Carolina" and to "...determine the potential of the arts within the state." Upon his election to the South Carolina Senate, Zeigler resigned from the council. After the council presented its findings, Sen. Zeigler introduced legislation to create the South Carolina Arts Commission. On June 7, 1967, Gov. McNair signed the legislation, and the South Carolina Arts Commission was in business." We are grateful for Zeigler's vision and his commitment to the long-range value of state support for the arts in South Carolina. Today we honor his memory. Zeigler's obituary and articles about his contributions and awards are published online. Via: SC Now, The State [caption id="attachment_1593" align="aligncenter" width="479"] Nick Zeigler (left) looks on as Gov. Robert E. McNair signs legislation creating the S.C. Arts Commission on June 7, 1967. Also shown, Marvin Trapp, who served as the Commission's first chairman.[/caption]