May 11, 2010 9:27:00 AM
Perched near the bustle and traffic of Main and Fifth streets downtown, the Rosenzweig Arts Center is an oasis of serenity -- anyone can put the brakes on a busy day, pause a few minutes and take refuge in the art on display.
Beyond that, folks can take in a concert or other artistic endeavor offered by the Columbus Arts Council, which runs the center. Or, they can take a class to enrich themselves or their children, with sessions covering everything from clay sculpting to comedy improv.
For the past two years, the person at the center of the artistic whirlwind has been Rachel Smith Hurt. As executive director, Hurt is charged with the daily operation of the RAC, grant writing, overseeing the gallery, activities and concert programming, summer arts camps and adult classes, schmoozing potential donors -- you name it, she''s doing it.
Hurt has been ensuring the smooth operation of Columbus arts programs behind the curtain, while performing on stage as the council''s smiling face and the city''s head cheerleader for local arts. While she has help from a dedicated board of directors, volunteers and another full-time staffer, Hurt''s own energies have gone above and beyond typical 8-to-5 hours.
Running a nonprofit during a recession is a daunting task, but Hurt has done an admirable job steering the Arts Council through choppy waters. Corporate sponsorships and are up from a year ago, and the council has enjoyed an upswing in public memberships. Hurt''s organizational skills and personable manner have led to the streamlining of some operations inside the Council.
Hurt, who recently married, officially left the council Saturday to manage a physician''s practice and focus more on family. The council''s board of directors is taking her departure as a good time to study the staffing needs of the council, before beginning an official search for a new executive director.
We thank Hurt for her tenure, which has been fruitful by all measures, and wish her well. We also wish good luck to the council board, which has the unenviable task of filling some pretty big shoes.