Arts Commission has taken its time in finding new director

Monday, November 23, 2009 at 11:59pm
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The 'Ghost Ballet' goes up on the east bank of the Cumberland. / The City Paper file photo

The Metro Arts Commission is getting closer to hiring a new executive director, a decision that could come as early as Dec. 3, according to chairwoman Jane Alvis.

The job has been unfilled since September 2008.

Out of the 400 candidates who applied for the position, Alvis said, the search committee interviewed 14 applicants before narrowing the list to four people, individuals who all currently reside in Nashville.

The next step is for the committee to recommend a candidate for the commission’s final approval, which she said hopes — but can’t guarantee — will come at the next commission meeting, Dec. 3.

“They’re all just really highly qualified individuals,” Alvis said. “And we have not yet reached a decision.”

Sandra Duncan has held the position on an interim basis since last year when then-Executive Director Norree Boyd was fired after a job review declared that she had poor communications skills, failed to take responsibility for certain actions and developed a spotty record of attending Metro Council meetings on behalf of the commission.

The commission was at the center of some contentious public art projects during Boyd's tenure, including the selection of several art pieces for Metro's Public Square (which have not yet been erected) and the construction of the riverfront's Ghost Ballet metal sculpture that many Nashville residents refer to as the “broken rollercoaster.”

“Getting it right is clearly what we’re after here,” Alvis said of the lengthy search process. “Once we do get it right, it will be time. But it has taken a little more time than I might have hoped.”