The Bristol Arts Community lost one of its most dedicated and visionary supporters in August - Merle Dickert.
"Merle's devotion to the Paramount is a model for all of us to follow," Ann Holler, Arts Alliance Mountain Empire board member, said. "Her steadiness of purpose communicated a feeling of confidence that the Paramount would remain a successful anchor for the development of the arts in downtown Bristol. Likewise, Merle was able to communicate needs, help raise funds, and meet the challenges of operating this performing space that has been the jewel of State Street. Her absenceleaves a big void, and we will think of her every time we enter the doors of the Paramount. Merle contributed in a significant way to the establishment of Arts Alliance Mountain Empire by serving as an early board member and treasurer. We will always be grateful."
The Paramount Center for the Arts Board of Directors and staff said in a statement, that they "are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our friend and Executive Director, Merle Dickert. Having worked for the Paramount for 15 years, Dickert was the public voice and face of the Paramount and helped make it the shining star of State Street that it is today. She championed the Arts in our area and gave daily leadership and support not only to the Paramount, but to ourcommunity as a whole."
"She really was a pillar of strength for us," said Pierce Elliott, president of the Paramount board of directors. "Nothing happened at the Paramount without Merle being in the center of it from start to finish. Her guiding hand led us to the successes we are experiencing now."
The Paramount Board of Directors reaffirmed their commitment to Dickert's vision for the Paramount. They are developing and implementing a plan to ensure the business of the Paramount moves forward as Dickert would have wanted and decided the best way to pay homage to their friend is by continuing the programs Dickert scheduled. The Paramount's marquee lights will be dimmed each Thursday through Sept. 13.
Our sympathy and thoughts are with her friends and family.