Chaffee gets new director and new space
By Gordon Dritschilo
STAFF WRITER | December 29,2012
Everything is coming together for the Chaffee Art Center.
Board President Tracy Carris announced Friday that the center has a new executive director, has completed a fundraising drive, is poised to begin the repairs being paid for by that drive, and is moving into a temporary downtown location that will carry them through the repairs and possibly offer added space beyond it.
“I see this as exactly what we were trying to accomplish as a board, things moving forward,” Carris said. “It’s about time.”
The new director is Margaret Barros, a Rutland native who has worked in public relations for Vermont Electric Power Co. Carris said the Chaffee board chose Barros because of her business background and “ability to help fund-raise locally and be comfortable doing it.”
“I think she’s going to be a good fundraiser,” he said. “I think she’s going to be a good collaborator. She’s easy to talk to and I think she’s going to be a good face for the Chaffee.”
Carris said the board held three rounds of interviews, with candidates coming from as far away as Maine. He said the field was narrowed to three finalists, from whom Barros was chosen.
As Carris discussed Barros, workers were putting a sign up on the Chaffee’s new Merchants Row annex, next to the Boys & Girls Club. He said the organization is able to take the space thanks to a collaboration with owner Mark Foley, the Downtown Rutland Partnership and the Creative Economy.
“It demonstrates what happens when you come downtown,” Carris said. “The moment we mentioned it, we had three organizations helping us out. ... We hope to be open by New Year’s Eve. We have a January show that’ll definitely be downtown.”
The space is necessary because, Carris said, the Chaffee finally completed a long-running $84,000 capital campaign to match a grant and pay for renovations at its South Main Street location.
“We’re going to start construction and some of the repairs to the electrical system Jan. 1,” he said. “We’re putting the time and energy into (the building) that it deserves.”
Carris stressed that the downtown space is not meant to replace the existing building, which he expects to reopen in the spring. However, he did say the board hopes to operate the annex along with the South Main Street building.
“It will have to float on its own two feet, so to speak,” Carris said. “We want it to be permanent, but if it can’t hold itself up, it won’t be.”