January 31, 2008 Albany -- Eddie McCarty, Executive Director of the Arts Council has quit after 12 years.
His resignation comes on the heels of Albany Tomorrow CEO Kenneth Weaver's resignation, but no one will shed any light on what's going on.
Eddie McCarty's departure was sudden. He acknowledges that he "signed" a letter of resignation, but says he doesn't know what his future plans are.
When we asked if McCarty was asked to resign, "It was a mutual decision between our board and Mr. McCarty," was the reply from Albany Area Arts Council V.P. Justin Strickland.
Arts Council President Rachelle Bitterman and V.P. Justin Strickland say the council is looking to expand and grow the arts programs in Albany. McCarty isn't part of those plans.
"We're excited about our 2008 Arts Development Drive, we're looking forward to continuing that," said Strickland. "Timing is a little difficult now because we're just starting that drive the first of February, but we look forward to moving and making the arts council a more vibrant and powerful organization to promote the arts in Albany.
The announcement was just as surprising as yesterday's resignation of Kenneth Weaver after just three months on the job as Executive Director of Albany Tomorrow. ATI Chairman C. W. Grant refused to answer questions about the resignation. Calls to board members Mary Helen Dykes and Emily McAfee were not returned.
City officials say their efforts downtown will continue with or without a director at ATI.
"I'm sure ATI has some challenges ahead," says Wes Smith, Assistant City Manager. "This is certainly not going to slow the commitment we have and we're going to move forward."
They can with downtown manager Don Buoi in place, something that might have been stalled if they were counting more on ATI.
"The city has made the choice to go this route with the downtown manager and with this kind of event occurring clearly we've made a good choice. We are in a position to continue to move, that it should not affect our momentum materially," Smith said.
They say ATI has been a good way for citizens to get involved in the downtown development process, but for Albany's success, it will take many different partners.
ATI is expected to discuss how they'll move forward in finding a new director at their next board meeting February 13th. The Arts Council says its already begun an aggressive search for a new director.