Thomas bids center farewell |

Thomas bids center farewell

Krista Thomas, who has served as executive director of Center for the Arts for less than three years, has resigned, leaders of the Grass Valley venue said Wednesday.

“We’re sorry to see Krista go,” board President Richard Baker said. “She’s done great for us, and we’re very happy with the direction she’s taken the center.”

Thomas was chosen for the job after a nationwide search in fall 2005.

“She’s really broadened our outreach to the community in education and theater and raised the level of professionalism we exhibit,” he said.

“We were definitely taken aback” when Thomas tendered her resignation in executive committee a couple of weeks ago, Baker said.

“It wasn’t anticipated,” Baker said. “We always knew that Krista had specific goals in mind. The strategic plan was one of her big ones, and it’s almost done. Perhaps she realized that she had accomplished a lot of her goals and that it was a good time to hand off the baton to someone who would implement them.”

Thomas was on vacation until Monday and could not be reached for comment. She is expected to stay until Aug. 15, helping formulate the requirements for the new executive director, Baker said.

As part of the strategic plan, the center has been conducting a series of focus groups over the past nine months in which people express their opinions about how the center is doing and what could be improved.

“We want to listen to the community and supply more community-directed programs,” said Baker. “Providing a good opportunity for people to produce their arts, ultimately, that is what our mission statement is all about. …

“While we provide a fairly good range of live music. We don’t necessarily provide the breadth of music for the elderly population in our community or the ‘tween’ group. Our visual arts program is good but could be significantly better,” Baker said.

Baker, 41, lives in Nevada City and owns Siteline Architecture. He has been on the board nearly six years and became president in April.

Business, Baker said, is “challenging.” Ticket sales have been down since April 2007, he said, ascribing it to the state of the economy. The quality of productions are “equal to, if not better than” what they have offered in the past, he said.

Other groups are seeing similar declines in ticket sales, Operations Manger Kathy Goldie said.

“Our funding is fairly steady this year,” Baker said, with membership growing to 800 people, including 33 members paying $1,000 or more. “The community is starting to open its eyes to what a gem The Center for the Arts is.”

To contact Staff Writer Pam Jung, e-mail or call 477-4232.

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