Courtesy of Rachel Moore/Helen Day Art Center
Stowe's Helen Day Art Center
announced last Friday that executive director Nathan Suter will step down at the end of July, ending his tenure of nearly 10 years. Suter came to the arts center as director in 2006, after receiving his MFA in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute and teaching art to middle and high school students in Palo Alto, Calif., for several years.
Suter plans to devote much of his time to developing his fledgling consulting firm, Build, with business partner Autumn Barnett. The two met through their respective work with the Burlington-based Peace & Justice Center
; Suter is a member of the nonprofit's board of directors.
Build aims to help businesses and nonprofits develop organizational health and effectiveness through awareness of fostering positive internal culture.
Suter said that he also hopes to devote more time to his own art practice. The father of two noted, "My children know me as someone who runs an art organization, not necessarily as an artist. That's something I need to change."
Of Helen Day's many developments under his leadership, Suter said that the establishment and growth of the youth and adult education programs is among the most significant. "When I joined the organization, there was very little arts education going on," he said. "We now offer 50 or more classes, workshops or camps per year, and serve over 500 students. I think it's a huge service not just to the community of Stowe but to the surrounding area. I'm proud of it."
Suter's commitment to community outreach and engagement also extended to the establishment of a scholarship program, which last year enabled 38 students to participate in the art center's programming. He views providing accessible arts education to multiple generations as key to organizational viability.
"We are now an organization that includes four generations of people in this area," Suter said. "That means to me the next 10, 20 years is secure."
Additionally, Suter said he hopes the organization will continue its mission of active and inclusive social engagement."If we are only serving the people who already know they love art, that's not enough," he said.
With his parting words, Suter expressed appreciation: "I'm tremendously grateful to the staff I've worked with, the board that always supports what we do, and the arts community of Vermont," he said. "None of the magic we make happen at a place like the art center happens as the act of one person."