Cumberland Times-News

December 2, 2013

Andy Vick resigning positions at arts council, Canal Place

Matthew Bieniek
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — Andy Vick, the leader of the Allegany Arts Council for the past decade, is leaving for a new position in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“It’s been a great run, and I will miss many things about the local community here in Allegany County, but the time is right for this change, and my wife, Beth, and I are both very excited about making a new start in Colorado,” Vick said.

Vick has resigned as executive director of the arts council effective at the end of the year. He has served in the position since April 2003. Vick had been a member of the arts council board since 1999. He will also be resigning as chairman of the board of directors of the Canal Place Preservation & Development Authority, a position he’s held since 2008.

Vick will become the executive director of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region in Colorado Springs. His last day at the Allegany Arts Council will be Dec. 31. After that, he and his wife will have a month to pack up and make the move. He is scheduled to start the new job Feb. 1.

Vick made his announcement Friday evening after the award presentations for the members exhibition at the Saville Gallery. He said he’d informed the organization’s board of directors of his decision earlier in the day.

A crowd of local artists and art enthusiasts, after some audible gasps as Vick made his announcement, broke into applause and several shouts of “We love you, Andy,” came from the crowd. Several members of the crowd surrounded him and, one by one, several members hugged him.

Arts Council president Sandi Saville said that Vick is a champion of the arts and the community.

“Over the past 10 years, Andy has tripled the Allegany Arts Council’s operating budget, orchestrated our organization’s move to a bigger and better facility within downtown Cumberland on two separate occasions, expanded and elevated the quality of cultural programming in our area, established new arts venues to support local practitioners, implemented a comprehensive and effective membership communications strategy (including print, radio, email, website and social media), and positioned the Allegany Arts Council as both a key community player in the local region, and a well-respected and frequently emulated nonprofit arts organization at the state and national levels,” Saville said in a written statement.

Vick meant much to the community, Saville said.

“Andy has been a visionary leader for our local arts agency who has used the concepts of creative placemaking to establish and brand our rural Appalachian community as a vibrant, regional arts destination,” Saville said, who also pointed out his work with the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Development Commission and coordinator of arts and entertainment districts in Cumberland and Frostburg. Vick has also served on the Maryland Tourism Development Board, Saville said.

Vick said he will have good memories of his work here.

“I’ve really enjoyed being able to represent the Allegany Arts Council and the local arts community at the state level and in front of our locally elected leaders, the business community, and the many other community partners and stakeholders that have been so important to the success of our organization,” Vick said.

“Andy has been a steadfast advocate and leader for the arts community and has helped to energize the arts in Cumberland. Through the Arts Council, he has helped to develop an artisan community in Cumberland that did not exist in such strong numbers previously,” said Cumberland Mayor Brian Grim.

City Councilwoman Nicole Wagoner agreed.

“Andy Vick was such a huge contributor to our community. I’ve personally been witness to the evolution of the arts in our community, and watching some of our old thinking come full circle. Today, the arts are poised to drive economic development in the city,” said Councilwoman Nicole Wagoner.

Vick wanted to dispel possible certain ideas about why he is leaving.

“This move really has nothing to do with Canal Place. All I can say is that I’ve learned a lot in my role as chairman of the Canal Place authority board, I still believe firmly in the mission of Canal Place and its importance in our community, and I have great confidence in the abilities of (Executive Director) Dee Dee (Ritchie) and her staff,” Vick said. Canal Place has been struggling financially with a disputed vision of its future among city and county officials.

“Andy has been terrific to work for. ... He’s always remained calm,” Ritchie said. Ritchie pointed out that Vick’s position is a volunteer one. “All the time he’s put in, it’s unbelievable,” Ritchie said.

“Moving forward, I believe this departure along with the retirement of longtime Downtown Manager Ed Mullaney provides a unique opportunity to marry together downtown and Canal Place,” Grim said. “I have always shared with Mr. Vick the idea that downtown and Canal Place are intertwined. I believe that this time of transition for Canal Place and downtown may provide a unique opportunity to actually bring them closer together operationally, and I look forward to the chance to speak with other local officials about potential for greater coordination and operation of these two vital operations in Cumberland.”

 Matthew Bieniek can be contacted at mbieniek@times-news.com.