breaking news

Clark County Fair to see big changes at animal auctions this year

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

Machete-wielding driver fights pedestrian armed with trash can
Machete-wielding driver fights pedestrian armed with trash can

A driver armed with a machete and a man walking across the street who did not seem to be paying attention while on a cellphone grabbed a trash can and started fighting Wednesday, police said.  A passerby caught the fracas on camera. The video shows the pedestrian, who is dressed in red, in a standoff with Luis Roman, 35, who is holding a...
Blac Chyna talks about moving on from revenge porn scandal
Blac Chyna talks about moving on from revenge porn scandal

Blac Chyna is moving on. In the weeks since her ex-fiancé Rob Kardashian shared nude and explicit photos of her, Chyna has been focused on the positive things in her life, especially her daughter, Dream. >> Read more trending news “Words are words, but once you start posting actual pictures, then that’s just not right...
Updated Clark County Fair logo weaves family, fair history together
Updated Clark County Fair logo weaves family, fair history together

Twenty-five years have passed since the Clark County Fair logo was created so the time seemed ripe to wash it down, brush it off and groom it like an animal headed for the show ring. That the groomer is artist Jarid Smith, who raised the fair’s Grand Champion Hog in 1990, seems fair, in both senses of the word. That he used his favorite artistic...
Clark County Fair hog project, swine flu teach about risks in life
Clark County Fair hog project, swine flu teach about risks in life

Our children love their animals: two dogs, six chickens, a pond full of fish and currently three market hogs. It’s no secret that the market hogs are what they are: hogs going to market. From day one, the kids all know this. Do they like bidding farewell to their beloved animals at the Clark County Fair? No. Have they given them the best possible...
Cecil the lion's son, Xanda, shot, killed in trophy hunt
Cecil the lion's son, Xanda, shot, killed in trophy hunt

Just two years after Cecil the lion was shot dead by a trophy hunter, the animal’s eldest son has met the same fate. >> Read more trending news  Cecil’s son, six-year-old Xanda, was recently killed not far from where Cecil died, just outside the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, People magazine reported. And...
More Stories