Back in May, it was reported that Second Street Gallery’s long-time director, Leah Stoddard, was no longer director (note: details of her departure were never made public). Catherine Barber was named the Acting Director while a nation-wide search for a new director commenced.
For those of you who don’t know, SSG is a nonprofit art gallery located here in downtown Charlottesville. Its operational budget is based significantly on fund raising efforts and the financial support of its individual membership. Laura and I are members.
On September 4, during a "Season Preview Party" (cost to attend was $35), it was announced that Rebecca Schoenthal (standing left in picture) had been named the new Executive Director of SSG. Ms. Schoenthal is (or should it be "was"?) the owner of Elsie Garden – a clothing boutique – and was a member of SSG’s Artist Review Panel.
Laura and I welcome Ms. Schoenthal to Charlottesville’s visual arts scene. But what bothers me – and I’m saying this as a paying member of SSG – I have yet to see a public announcement of this exciting news. Heck, I haven’t seen SSG even try to share this privately with its membership. Come on guys! This is exciting news! Where’s the press release? Where’s the media attention? Where’s the updated listing on your website? Or does any one actually care?
Regardless… As I mentioned, SSG is a nonprofit institution that relies on public funding to help keep its doors open. In my opinion, they owe the public some information on what’s going on behind its backroom doors. Since May, Laura and I have received in the mail no less than 3 requests for funding support from SSG (above and beyond our annual membership dues). We have also received a request to make an early renewal of our membership. As a consummate supporter of the visual arts, I’m afraid I have to pass on renewing my membership until someone lets me know what is going on at SSG. I would like to know that the ship my annual dues get poured into actually has a rudder. I would expect a little more transparency from a publicly funded institution.