The Austin Chronicle



By Robert Faires, August 6, 1999, Arts

Following up on last week's story: Sure enough, Austin will see three arts service organizations lose their executive directors this summer. In June, we heard about Number One, Ann Ciccolella, who is leaving her longtime post as the executive director of the Austin Circle of Theatres on August 31 to take the job of managing director at the Zachary Scott Theatre Center. Last week, we reported on Number Two, Michelle Polgar (spouse of Austin Chronicle arts writer Robi Polgar), who resigned her position as ED of Artists' Legal and Accounting Assistance of Austin earlier in July and cleaned out her desk at the end of the month. Now we can confirm that Sue Fawver, ED for the Austin Visual Arts Association, is leaving that organization at the end of August.

With these three resignations coming as close together as they have, the armchair arts critic is tempted to believe something's afoot in the city's arts service sector, a cultural conspiracy. But, alas, there's no evidence to support it. A conversation with Fawver confirms that she, like Ciccolella, is just trading up on the career scene, and the timing is simple coincidence. While it's sad to see arts advocates like these depart, it's nice to see people of their caliber and quality heading into jobs that promise to be as or more fulfilling than the ones they're leaving behind. That's certainly the case with Fawver. She was approached by indie label Shanachie Records -- it has released CDs by Sara Hickman and Sue Foley, among many others -- to assist them in their A&R and retail marketing work. It's full-time, a satisfactory salary, she gets "paid to listen to records," Fawver claims, and best of all, even though Shanachie is headquartered in New York City, she gets to stay in Austin. That's good news for Fawver's KUT fans, who will be able to continue to enjoy her disc-spinning on Folkways. (And you can learn more about Fawver in a hefty profile in the KUT newsletter Communique.)

As for AVAA, Fawver notes that the association is in a pretty good place these days. The group is firmly settled in its new space at 2008 Alexander, its new AVAA gallery there is booked through the end of the year, and the association board is ramping up its fundraising activities. There is the ongoing struggle with the city's Cultural Contracts Program over funding, but AVAA is hardly alone in that boat (see the Chronicle's current series on Cultural Contracts, Vol. 18, Nos. 30, 39, 42). All in all, Fawver looks to be making her exit at an opportune time. And she won't be gone gone; she's promised to keep her hand in at AVAA as a volunteer.

Here's another arts personnel change that we let slip by last week. Teatro Humanidad, the company that spawned Petra's Pecado, Watsonville: Some Place Not Here, and the Latino Comedy Project, has a new artistic director. Filling the shoes of Founding Director Rodney Garza, who resigned the position to pursue more opportunities as an actor, is Amparo García Crow, the actor, director, teacher, playwright, and longtime member of the Austin theatre community known for her work with Big State Productions, Zachary Scott, Mary Moody Northen Theatre, and currently, the UT Department of Theatre & Dance. Teatro plans to produce García Crow's play Under a Western Sky -- previously mounted off-Broadway -- in late September at the State Theater. Congratulations, Teatro and Amparo!

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