Vermont Arts Council
Courtesy of Vermont Arts Council
announced today that executive director Alex Aldrich will be stepping down from his post on April 14, after more than 20 years of service. Aldrich joined VAC in January 1997, by way of his role as business manager for the Rialto Center for the Performing Arts at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
Teri Bordenave will serve as interim director while the VAC board of trustees conducts a nationwide search for Aldrich's replacement.
"[My departure] clears the deck for new innovative thinking," Aldrich told Seven Days
by phone. "I think it will be really good for the council, and it'll be good for me … It's been a really good run."
Aldrich intends to stay at his home in central Vermont, and admitted that his decision was in large part a financial one. He and his wife own real estate franchise Coldwell Banker Classic Properties. With four children in college at present, Aldrich said the opportunity to earn more in real estate is too enticing to pass up.
Asked if his departure was in any way related to President Trump's proposed cut to the National Endowment for the Arts, Aldrich said he is "not particularly worried about the NEA."
"I'm a child of the earlier round of the culture wars," he said. "So, to me, this is just an extension of what I've been doing for the last 25 to 30 years."
Aldrich noted that "one of the important silver linings" of leaving his position will be the freedom it allows him to advocate for the arts in a more direct way. "I won't have to subscribe to the IRS' strictures and rules about being nonpartisan," he said.
Among his fond memories and accomplishments, Aldrich cited the 2-year-old Animating Infrastructure
initiative. He described that as working with communities to collaborate with local artists "to identify public challenges." In particular, Aldrich mentioned the painted silos in Jeffersonville
: "They transformed the way Cambridge feels about itself," he said. "That's an example of the kind of project that I feel really proud of, because it shows what we mean when we talk about building public value through the arts."
Aldrich also spoke highly of his fellow VAC staff. "I've worked with some really, really wonderful people, both on the staff and on the board," he noted. "It's tough and emotional to think what it will be like on April 17 to not come into this work."