Marcy Miller has resigned as the executive director of the William King Museum of Art, effective June 30. I was the president of the Board of Trustees at the museum when she was hired. In her interview, Marcy impressed the committee with her intelligence, poise, grace, leadership abilities, and her enthusiastic commitment to her new community. She has more than lived up to our initial impressions from seven years ago.
She has led the museum through the most turbulent economic times since the Depression. The budget has been reduced by 30 percent without severely damaging the quality of the exhibitions or other programming. Through successful fundraising, many facility enhancements have occurred: new hardwood flooring, exterior improvements, a new HVAC and security system-and especially a new entrance from Main Street with stylish signage. She led the Board of Trustees to a renewed commitment to "staying on the hill," instead of building a new museum downtown.
Besides all of the high quality exhibitions which have become the standard at William King, there have been some exciting additions during Marcy's tenure: a new Panoramic Gallery (an artist-run space featuring exhibitions of local art); a new sculpture contest which will be held this summer; a new gallery for the museum's cultural heritage collection; and especially the initiation of the popular "First Thursday" events, during which Abingdon arts organizations bring gallery-goers together one night each month for art, music, food and more.
One of the museum's major purposes is to enhance children's interest in art. The number of students participating in the VanGogh Outreach has increased by 34 percent, and the Big Messy First Thursday last July had more than 400 kids in attendance.
Marcy has been a collaborator, which is essential for the success of arts organizations. The museum hosts the photography contest of the Virginia Highlands Festival. The museum has collaborated with the Town of Abingdon and Barter Theatre on tourism grants, with the public library on "The Big Read" events, with the Birthplace of Country Music Museum on a concert series, along with many others.
I join John Lentz, the current board chair, in thanking Marcy for her tenure at the museum. Lentz said, "On behalf of the entire Board of Trustees of the WKMA, we wish Marcy and her family the very best in the future. Join us in expressing our sincere appreciation for her steadfast devotion to our region's fine arts museum."