Spiro Arts to get new director | ParkRecord.com

Spiro Arts to get new director

Alisha Self, Of the Record staff

As Spiro Arts wrapped up its season at the beginning of September, Kathryn Stedham bid adieu to her position as executive director.

An artist herself, Stedham took the helm of the nonprofit nearly three years ago when it was in its incipient stages. Property owner Rory Murphy was envisioning an artist-in-residency program at the Silver Star Resort, and Stedham arrived at the perfect time to set the wheels in motion.

"I took this on because it was an extremely unique project," she says. "I think it fills a very important niche in the community, giving artists, writers and composers a place where they can come and be appreciated and supported."

Under Stedham’s leadership, Spiro Arts has brought numerous artists, programs and educational opportunities to Park City. "This project has been the center point of my life for the past three years," she says.

Now, after coming to what both she and Murphy describe as a mutual decision, Stedham is stepping down. "What Kathryn came on as and what she was just excellent at was program development, which was what Spiro Arts needed," says Murphy, who also serves as chairman of Spiro’s board of directors.

While she loved working with artists and developing new ventures, economic challenges put strain on Stedham’s responsibilities. "This past year, as the programs have matured and we started to get some real foundation with them, she has been spending a lot more time just trying to keep the books balanced, and that’s not where her heart is," explains Murphy. "This was a very mutual deal."

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"I think it was understood that I was there for the beginning part to pull this together," adds Stedham. "This was something that’s very close to my heart. It was a tough decision with myself and with the board, but it was just better for the organization in the long term."

Stedham says that she will continue her involvement in the arts community as a member of the Park City Summit County Arts Council and the Public Arts Advisory Board. "I was so happy to make so many connections over the past three years and hope to maintain those connections as I go forth."

According to Murphy, Spiro Arts will conduct a nationwide search for a new executive director in the coming months. He is not ready to formally announce the details and application process, but hopes a decision will be made by early winter.

In the meantime, the board of directors has appointed two of its staff members, Marin Abell and Justin Parisi-Smith, to act as interim directors and split the roles of program director and executive director.

The active season for Spiro programs runs from March through August. During the months surrounding the Sundance Film Festival, the building is leased to the Sundance Institute, although the nonprofit staff members do maintain an office onsite.

The top priority for the new executive director will be fundraising, Murphy says. He expects operations and programs for next season to remain the same.

Stedham says she is looking forward to watching Spiro grow and evolve, and she is excited for whoever steps up to fill the position. "Each director brings a new dimension to the program, and I’m looking forward to seeing what direction that will be," she says.

"I feel very privileged to have been a part of it and very thankful to our board members and folks in the community," she adds. "I’ve been humbled by the support of the community during this project."

For more information about Spiro Arts, visit http://www.spiroarts.org.