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Verner Award recipient Kathleen Bateson to retire

Lowcountry arts to lose decorated leader in 2020


After leading the organization since 1998, CEO/President Kathleen Bateson has announced her retirement from the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina effective June 30, 2020.  Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Reeves, who has worked with Bateson since 2001, will succeed as president and CEO effective Jan. 1, 2020. Bateson will remain with Arts Center as executive artistic producer until June 30, 2020. Bateson’s executive arts consulting history and corporate management experience, particularly in financial and long-range planning strategies, corporate investor relations and international marketing/PR, preceded her current CEO leadership role. During her tenure, the Arts Center has become the state’s third largest arts organization as well as its largest professional producing theatre (110+ plays). Bateson also diversified the Presenting Artists series (270+performers) and expanded the education efforts into the four-county region (265,000+ services).  In 2019 Bateson received the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts (seen above), the highest arts honor in the state, which was also awarded to the Arts Center in 2006. Bateson was also recently named to the S.C. Arts Foundation board of directors. Bob Lee, two-time Chairman of the Arts Center Board of Trustees stated, “I cannot express enough the privilege I have had working with Kathi on the Board of Trustees over the last 16 years. While her departure will certainly leave a hole in the hearts of those of us who recognize the many successes and accolades her leadership has brought to the Arts Center, we also recognize that she has assembled a skillful, capable team who will sustain the level of excellence she has created at this community jewel.”

Hilton Head Island seeks culture and arts network director

Apply by March 22 GreenTownLogo-72R-5inThe Town of Hilton Head Island is seeking a dynamic and creative individual to become its first culture and arts network director. The new director will lead the process to create and implement a civic plan for enhancing the Island’s existing entertainment, arts, culture and heritage (EACH) assets and for identifying new assets for development. Working with other stakeholders, the director will elevate the marketing of these assets in a way that showcases them as successfully as other Island amenities, with a focus on new ways to reach both residents and visitors. This position is the first of its kind in Beaufort County and will offer the successful candidate a challenging and rewarding opportunity to steer the town’s future in these important areas. The successful candidate will be able to interact effectively with multiple audiences, quickly grasp the current situation and determine possibilities for enhancement and development. The ability to communicate with the following constituents is required: leaders of various EACH organizations, Island residents and visitors, Town government and the Island’s marketing entities (Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce and its Visitors and Convention Bureau). The successful candidate will also be able to demonstrate knowledge, skills or abilities in the areas of strategic planning, marketing, facilitation, group presentations, use of social media platforms and technology resources, and administrative management. Currently the Island has a world-class symphony, a vibrant theater scene, a rich music community, nationally recognized artistic talent, and a storied but under-told heritage. We are seeking a candidate who can showcase these assets (and others) to expand their reach and broaden our Island’s appeal to both residents and visitors. Application deadline is March 22. Complete details and application instructions are online.  

Consultant: Hilton Head Island should create new arts funding source, plan new venue

From the Island Packet:

Hilton Head Island residents overwhelmingly believe a vibrant arts scene and cultural life is extremely important to the island. And they're willing to pay for it. Those were among the findings of survey results presented to Town Council on Wednesday by consulting firm Cultural Planning Group. The firm was hired to suggest ways to get the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina and other arts groups on solid financial footing, determine the town's role in supporting them, and suggest what should be done about the center's costly maintenance and repair needs. It conducted an online survey and community meetings in October to gauge support for the programs and the willingness to fund them. According to the results, the town should play a major role in supporting and expanding arts, culture and entertainment on the island, said firm partner Martin Cohen. Of the 2,170 responses received:
  • More than 70 percent believe the town should either "fully" support and expand arts, culture and entertainment, or play a "major" part in that effort.
  • More than 70 percent also favor paying as much as $25 per capita in annual taxes to pay for such offerings.
  • Nearly three-fourths want more, affordable options for live music, dance and theater performances.
Some, though, question the reliability of the survey results since participants were not randomly selected. When participants are "self-selected," bias can be introduced, according to experts. People who feel strongly about an issue tend to participate, while those who are lukewarm might not, Mayor Drew Laughlin said. He and other council members worried respondents might not be representative of the population as a whole. Cohen argued bias is inherent in any survey by those who choose to take it. "This should be taken as a broad indicator of the level of support in the community," he said. "We did learn there is extraordinary high interest in the arts and expectation the town participate in the arts and cultural development of the community." The firm suggested the town establish an arts commission to advise council and serve as a central cultural planning and coordinating agency. It also suggested the town establish a dedicated funding source independent of tourism -- such as property taxes -- to pay for its support of the arts . The town funds some arts and culture groups through tax collections on short-term lodging, with a focus on tourism development. However, nearly two-thirds of the arts groups on the island primarily serve residents. The island has an abundance of artistic and cultural resources with nearly 40 arts and cultural organizations, far more than would be expected in a community of 38,000 residents, Cohen said. But, while Hilton Head is relatively affluent, it does not have a base of corporate and foundational funding to support those groups. As a result, the island is "arts rich but arts facility poor," consultant Jerry Allen said. The firm recommended the town begin planning now for a new 700- to 1,000-seat performing arts venue. In the meantime, it should develop a short-term plan to maintain the Arts Center. Council directed the consultants to return in February with a detailed look at possible funding sources and short- and long-term plans to address facility needs.
Via: Island Packet