Sad. All around sad.

To Gavin and Kelly, thanks for your years of work. You created an ambitious goal and led a charge toward it. Good luck in future ventures.

(Painting of Gavin Shettler by Gwenn Seemel.)

To Portland Art Center Board members, it was your responsibility to supervise the executive to assure accountability and credibility of the venture. If you were unable to assert your responsibility, for whatever reason, you should have resigned as individuals at that time. Your collective resignation makes me think of one thing: rats.

To future arts program directors, board members, and most importantly, financial contributors to the arts, I hope you’ll take this effort and its demise in context. An ambitious, local, community-based, downtown, “cutting-edge,” arts venue is about the most awkward, tippy, confusing, hectic and potentially spectacular business to manage.

Leaders need mentors, need training, need a long leash, need friends in high and low places, need a shoulder to cry on, need a big check to seed the campaign, need counsel about the press and vendors and lenders and landlords. We can make new arts leaders like Kristy and Gavin, but we can also chase them away by leaving them high and dry.

Be gentle to each other. We’re on the far corner here of civilization, fortunate really to have any artwork at all. Be kind. Peace.

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