Longtime Arts and Cultural Alliance government director Jim Shirley plans to retire


After 13 years as government director of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, Jim Shirley has introduced that he’ll retire on the finish of December 2022.

Shirley assumed management of the then Arts Council in 2009, which was established in 1986 to function the umbrella group for all arts and tradition establishments within the county. The mission of the Alliance contains being the principle advocate for all features of the humanities in the neighborhood, together with artwork training for all youngsters in our faculties. The Alliance additionally administers the Vacationer Growth Tax Arts Grant Program for Sarasota County, along with different grant packages supporting arts organizations and particular person artists all through the area. These packages have resulted in additional than $45 million in funding for the cultural neighborhood in Sarasota County.

Though Shirley has been a well known public determine in and across the arts neighborhood, her profession was very totally different earlier than main the Alliance. He was concerned within the sale of prescription drugs and medical gear each right here and in Atlanta. His work with nonprofits in Sarasota started when he volunteered on a capital marketing campaign to lift cash for an Olympic pool on the Selby Aquatic Middle on the then YMCA. He labored with Sailor Circus (then below the umbrella of the Police Athletic League) earlier than becoming a member of the Coalition.

We requested Shirley some “exit interview” questions concerning the Alliance’s previous, current and future, in addition to her personal private plans. (Trace: He likes fish.)

Why retirement now?

“Okay, I am 74, and my spouse Barbara additionally simply retired in June. [She has been a public school principal in Sarasota County for many years.] Additionally, the Alliance as a company is a brand new strategic plan for the subsequent 5 to 10 years. It appeared to me that it was time to step out and discover a new chief to take over.”

What have been a number of the greatest and worst instances for an alliance?

“After I began out as government director, there have been three administrators in about 4 years, so no actually strong management, and it was in some robust monetary scenario. I haven’t got a background within the arts, however I’ve one. Background in Administration.So When Larry Thompson [Ringling College president and longtime Alliance board member] Referred to as me and requested if I may take over, I stated I might. The individuals who held that place did not actually know many individuals in the neighborhood; You will need to have it to get issues carried out.

“For the primary two years, we restructured the board so that everybody on it wanted to have an arts group CEO or government director. Ultimately it was an excellent transfer, but it surely additionally meant that they had extra to volunteer. There was no time.. After that, we reshuffled the board so {that a} portion was from arts and cultural organizations, however we additionally had different individuals within the enterprise world to hunt extra administration help.

“We modified the identify to higher replicate our true objective, and to incorporate cultural organizations similar to Mote Marine or Selby Gardens, that are main components of our neighborhood however should not strictly artwork.

“One factor I am happy with that I feel has helped us to assume is that we’d like a company just like the Coalition that’s current always, not simply on stage. There are quite a lot of politicians who do not go to Artwork. I needed us to be a voice in any respect ranges, and this contains our college techniques, our libraries. It is also satisfying to me how we labored with small and rising organizations to mentor and mentor them. We present enterprise The leaders have been additionally ready, by way of our arts and financial prosperity research, to have an effect of the humanities right here – $300 million a yr.”

What are the challenges for the way forward for the alliance?

“The continued battle is that it’s important to assist individuals perceive that they ask, ‘Why donate?’ We do not promote tickets or merchandise; a serious supply of our earnings is our members. And that is what provides us extra impression once I converse [governmental] chief; They perceive that they should concentrate on these voters.

“The pandemic has clearly had a serious impression on the humanities neighborhood, however they’ve carried out a implausible job of coming again. Nonetheless, new habits and new methods of doing enterprise will proceed.

And what are your private plans?

“Barbara and I bought our home on Siesta Key for 30 years and acquired a rental so we may take journeys each time we needed and simply. However I critically do not assume we’ll be lacking out. We nonetheless wish to be in these tasks. Be part of whoever pursuits us right here.”


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