SVAC, executive director, part ways


MANCHESTER -- The Southern Vermont Arts Center and its executive director are parting ways.

Seline Skoug, who was initially appointed on an interim basis as executive director in March, 2013, and then elevated to the role on a longer term basis last October, is no longer serving there. This change was confirmed both by Skoug and John Lavechia, the chairman of the art center’s board of trustees.

Both Skoug and Lavechia declined to comment on the circumstances of the separation. In a telephone interview, Skoug said the separation took effect as of May 31. Lavechia, in another phone interview, said the board of trustees would have a statement ready for public release shortly. Skoug’s departure from the arts center comes as the summer season, usually a busy time for the institution, is about to get underway. A new exhibit of work by seven artists is scheduled to open on June 14, with a series of summer arts camps following shortly afterwards. Performing art events at the Arkell Pavilion, an acoustic theater located on the arts center’s campus, are scheduled to start up on July 3 with the opening of the summer concert series by the Manchester Music Festival, as well as a Broadway-themed music review show on July 12, hosted by the arts center.

All of those events, as well as all the other scheduled exhibitions and performances, will go forward as planned, Lavechia said.

In the meantime, Jennifer Weinstein, a Manchester resident and a member of the arts center’s board of trustees, will be assuming the day-to-day duties as an interim director, he said.

Weinstein was appointed to the SVAC board in 2012, according to a previous news release published in The Journal Nov. 8, 2012. In that press release, Weinstein is described as an attorney who has been admitted to legal practice in the states of New York, New Jersey, and Florida, as well as the Eastern District of New York and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Skoug’s departure from the center follows that of her predecessor, Joseph Madeira. He stepped down from the executive director post in November 2012. He had been initially appointed to the job in March, 2011. Madeira in turn had succeeded long-time serving executive director Christopher Madkour, who, according to a statement released by the arts center’s board at the time, resigned his position effective Sept. 1, 2010. Madkour had served as the art center’s director for 22 years. At the time of his appointment in 1988, Madkour, then 29, was the youngest such executive director of a major arts center in Vermont.

The arts center had its origins in a series of art exhibits staged at the Dorset Town Hall in the 1920s, by a group of artists known as the Dorset Painters. The Yester House, a 28 room Georgian Revival mansion on the slopes of Mt. Equinox, was purchased for the home of the arts center in 1951. the Arkell Pavilion opened in 1963 and was followed by the Elizabeth de C. Wilson Museum, which offers more exhibit space for art shows, opened in 2000.


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