You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

White out as Springfield Arts Council director

The arts council board president said the organization is restructuring.

The brief tenure of David A. White III as executive director of the Springfield Arts Council came to an end this week after his position was eliminated.

The arts council board voted Wednesday night to adopt an operating structure common among arts groups nationally, with an artistic director and a business director at the helm, board president Debbie LeMelle said Friday.

White, 60, will fill neither role and was let go just months after he took over the organization led for 39 years by Chris Moore, who now bears the title of director emeritus.

“David is a gentleman. He’s a gracious person. It was definitely amicable,” LeMelle said.

While a business director has yet to be named, Tim Rowe will be managing artistic director permanently. The venerable local nonprofit enjoys an annual budget of $1 million.

Rowe, 57, is a lifelong Springfield resident who had recently entered his 13th year as the arts council’s marketing director. Prior to that, Rowe was Project Jericho’s first director.

The move to restructure — without him — came as a surprise to White.

“I was excited to serve an organization I have come to love and respect,” White said.

“As a gentleman,” he added, “I respect their decision.”

The arts council remains on firm financial footing, LeMelle said, but it was an ideal time to restructure, she added.

The arts council is two shows into its annual Broadway & Beyond Series at Kuss Auditorium, and will present the national tour of “West Side Story” on Wednesday.

But, with that new season off and running, and the 2014 Summer Arts Festival largely booked, “This is the quietest time in the office,” LeMelle said. “Now is our time.”

LeMelle called the board’s action “a tough decision, but it will be the best in the long run.”

Moore, who hired White to be his successor, grooming him for two years to take over, said Friday he had been asked by the board for advice on the new operating structure.

“As director emeritus,” Moore said, “I will be there to help them any way possible.”

Moore officially retired this past summer at the conclusion of the 47th annual Summer Arts Festival, and said he left the arts council in healthy shape.

“What they (the board) saw on the horizon was not as healthy,” he said.

White’s wife and daughter still reside in Columbia, Mo., where he served as executive director for almost nine years of the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts.

But, his exit from that arts group seemed equally abrupt.

In 2009, as the Columbia Daily Tribune reported, he resigned “amid a flurry of lawsuits over the arts center’s unpaid bills and lingering debt from the theater’s $10 million restoration project.” White, a Kettering native, told the Columbia newspaper, however, he wasn’t pressured to resign.

“We’re excited to work with Tim and wish David the best,” LeMelle said.

The shakeup at the Springfield Arts Council came the same week that Dayton-based Culture Works released a study showing that the nonprofit arts and culture organizations in an eight-county area — including Clark County — account for a $161.3 million boost to the region’s economy each year.

As a 1974 graduate of South High School, Rowe has grown up with the Springfield Arts Council and its admission-free Summer Arts Festival in particular.

In addition to directing 10 festival musicals, he’s also built and designed sets for at least 35 shows.

“I’ve got a lot of affection for the organization,” Rowe said, “and what we bring to the community.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

One arrested, others sought for robbery in Springfield
One arrested, others sought for robbery in Springfield

One woman has been arrested and charged in connection with a robbery in Springfield. Brittney Nicole Allen, 30, was charged with complicity to aggravated robbery. She pleaded not guilty Thursday in Clark County Municipal Court and her bond was set at $10,000. According to an arrest warrant, Allen allegedly entered the Mug-N-Jug, 1213 Mitchell Blvd...
Historic SpaceX rocket launch could transform spaceflight 
Historic SpaceX rocket launch could transform spaceflight 

For the first time in history, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX is poised to launch a recycled rocket back into Earth’s orbit — a milestone that could drastically cut the cost of traveling into space and pave the way for a new era in space travel. Musk’s private space company is scheduled to relaunch a Falcon 9 rocket...
Social media reacts to news of Anthony Grant’s hiring at UD
Social media reacts to news of Anthony Grant’s hiring at UD

Just before noon on March 30, the University of Dayton announced Anthony Grant will be the new men’s basketball coach.  UD will hold a press conference on Saturday at 1 p.m. to formally announce the university’s 19th basketball coach.   The Flyers community took to social media after the news broke to express their thoughts...
4-year-old has ‘date’ with police officer
4-year-old has ‘date’ with police officer

A Massachusetts police officer had what the police department is calling “the best dinner date ever.” >> Read more trending news  Sgt. Steven Dearth was grabbing a bite during his dinner break at a Panera Bread a few weeks ago when Lilly, 4, walked in with her parents and brother, ABC News reported.  She went up...
Young man loses bet, gets taped to traffic sign
Young man loses bet, gets taped to traffic sign

Drivers traveling in Houston on Wednesday called authorities after spotting a young man that was taped to a yield sign with his feet dangling more than a foot from the ground. The young man was identified by KHOU as Miguel Chavez. The news station reported Chavez lost a bet made on Tuesday’s basketball game between the Houston Rockets and the...
More Stories