If you thought that the major change-ups in Austin's arts institutions were over, think again. There's just been another. In addition to the departures of General Manager Paul Kaine from Ballet Austin, Chief Executive Officer Sid Mallory from Austin Museum of Art, Artistic Director Alice Wilson from the Zachary Scott Theatre Center, and Managing Director Eva Paloheimo from Frontera@Hyde Park Theatre, we now have the departure of Sandra Gregor from the Texas Fine Arts Association. This past Friday, August 29, Gregor resigned her position as executive director of the statewide non-profit organization. TFAA promotes contemporary artists and art across the state via exhibitions in Austin and an extensive Art on Tour program, and Gregor has been at its helm for 14 years. Among her significant accomplishments during that time: securing a new home for the organization in the space at 700 Congress Avenue. The acquisition of the building was made a few years ago, but since then fundraising to renovate the space has proceeded more slowly than anticipated. The challenges of the move and of balancing curatorial interests with development duties may have contributed to Gregor's decision to leave the director's post, but TFAA board president Gilberto Cardenas insists that the parting is amicable. He credits Gregor with assuring TFAA a healthy future. "She's left the organization in good shape," he says, adding that the move to 700 Congress ought to take place early next year. Current plans call for a phase-in of Dallas architect Gary Cunningham's plans for the building, making substantial changes to the first floor with the design being completed as the rest of the money is raised. As for Gregor, she has her eye on the future, too. "I've been so fortunate to have a dream job all these years," she says. "Nonetheless, it's exciting personally to think about new directions. Fourteen years is a long time." According to Cardenas, board members will assume Gregor's responsibilities while the search for a new executive director gets underway. (Special thanks to Rebecca Cohen for this report.)
Andrew Long, the adventurous artistic director of Austin's Johnson/Long Dance Company, is just back from taking part in the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Long -- who, by the way, is white -- danced and acted in The Harsh Reality of Toys, a new performance piece by Keith Antar Mason, playwright, performer, and dancer with the Los Angeles ensemble The Hittite Empire. For a couple of years, Johnson/Long and The Hittite Empire have been working together to develop a new theatre/dance work, A Fuse Burning at Two Ends. Long's appearance in The Harsh Reality of Toys is an extension of the two troupes' creative collaboration. When Toys tours the United States and Europe next year, Long will be part of the cast.
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