The Center for the Arts welcomed David Rothman, the nonprofit’s first president and CEO, this week.
Rothman’s arrival will shake up the Center’s staffing and organization, but it’s too early to know exactly how.
“The Center has really been continuing to grow for the last six, seven years,” said Valerie Brown, president of the board. “When organizations get to a certain size — and we think we’re there — having a CEO and president who can bring together the donor community, the residents and the operations in a combined vision helps accellerate the development of the organization.”
There’s a lot going on at the Center for the Arts. Considering itself a “creative hub” for Jackson, it is a 78,000-square-foot creative campus that houses over a dozen “residents” — other arts, education or culture-related nonprofits that call the campus home.
In addition to playing landlord the Center for the Arts is in charge of its own programming, bringing in artists, musicians and speakers throughout the year.
Previously, two of the main leadership positions were held by Director Martha Bancroft and President of the Center Fund Jen Simon. Bancroft handled operations, and Simon led fundraising and development.
Rather than absorbing two roles in one, Brown said, the president and CEO is a broader, higher-level position than Bancroft’s and Simon’s.
“It takes a holistic view of the development side of the business, the operations and the relationships with the residents and the community,” Brown said.
Bancroft had her last day at the Center last week. She announced her resignation Oct. 25, according to a letter sent to Center residents, but agreed to continue supporting the organization until the new position as president and CEO was filled. She will support Rothman as a contractor through February.
“During my tenure at the Center we have made great strides into making it one of the most vibrant and stable arts organizations in Jackson Hole,” Bancroft said in an email. “I could not be more proud to have been the leader during these exciting times of change and growth, and I am so pleased with what we have accomplished together as a team.”
Rothman applauded Bancroft for leaving the Center in such great shape. One her most notable achievements was increasing the Center Theater’s usage from 40 to 200 nights per year, a feat made possible by the start of “Center Presents” programming and increasing participation from residents.
“After six years of proudly serving as the director, I leave The Center a stable, vibrant and creative hub in the heart of our community and wish only the best for this amazing organization and remarkable team in the future,” she said.
In a Bancroft’s absence staff members Anne Bradley, Marty Camino, Anne Ladd and Stephanie Shankland have agreed to tag-team operations.
As for the fundraising side of things, Jen Simon went on medical leave in the spring and her position has since been eliminated. Development Director Ladd absorbed those responsibilities. Rothman will also take on some parts of that role.
The News&Guide was unable to connect with Simon before publishing this story.
According to the Center for the Arts’ marketing director, Bradley, the CEO position was created to give joint-leadership to operations and fundraising. Rothman and the Center will determine if new operations or fundraising staff needs to be hired.
“David will determine the needs going forward,” Bradley said. “We’re in a holding pattern right now.”
The exciting prospect of bringing in fresh eyes into a fresh position is that a lot of what the future holds for the Center is now up in the air.
Brown said Rothman will have the chance to look at the whole organization and start conversations with the staff and community.
Rothman told the News&Guide he is looking forward to the opportunity to start by listening and getting to know the Center and the Jackson community.
Rothman moved from Crested Butte, Colorado, where he has lived for the past two decades. He is a poet, author, musician and educator with a long career in arts-related management. He was chosen out of three finalists from over 40 candidates.
“He’s got such a broad and deep background in being a leader in the arts,” Brown said. “David’s coming, in my opinion, allows the Center to thrive and grow on the creative side.”
The Center for the Arts also announced the addition of two new board members to its board: Bill O’Neil and David Hopkins.
O’Neil works in his family’s business, O’Neil Industries, a holding company of national commercial general contractors. He has served on the board of the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois, where he is from, and is a recipient of the Spirit of Life Award from the City of Hope, a cancer treatment and research center.
Hopkins is the founder and CEO of Chase Management LLC. Born in the U.K., he established a permanent home in the U.S. in 1990 and in Jackson Hole in 2017. ￼