ABINGDON, VA - After 10 years as Arts Administrator of the Arts Depot in Abingdon, Bob Cassell has retired (effective October 1, 2011). Cassell, who lives in Kingsport, Tenn., is a photographer and a former member of the A! Magazine committee.
According to Sara Reese, long-time studio artist at the Depot, Cassell was hired as a part-time Arts Administrator in August 2001. She recalls, "He was told they had funds to pay him for six months, and it was up to him to ensure the Depot Artists Association had funds to keep him employed after that. Bob did that and much more during his time with us.
"This has been a decade of remarkable growth for the Arts Depot. Our financial situation greatly improved during Bob's tenure. In his first year, he changed our finances from several years of deficit to positive earnings. Membership, attendance and individual contributions increased as a result of his excellent press releases and oversight of media coverage. He initiated many wonderful special exhibits and was active with numerous Abingdon organizations and councils.
"Bob's talents as an engineer have been extremely beneficial in the upkeep of this historic building. The upgrading of our Studio 6 classroom/gallery space, improvements to the heating and cooling systems, creation of our long-needed multi-purpose room (kitchen), and upgrades of our restrooms are but a few of the projects he oversaw."
Susan Yates will serve as interim administrator until the DAA Board decides on a permanent administrator. Yates grew up on New York City's Long Island. Her grandmother was from Abingdon, Va., and her family visited this area often through the years. "I always knew that someday I would live in Southwest Virginia," Yates says. In 2000, after working in the aviation industry in southern California for 14 years, she (and her husband) moved to Meadowview, Va. She worked as a shopkeeper at the former Cave House Craft Shop in Abingdon and was hired by DAA in 2003 as part-time administrative assistant to Bob Cassell. Yates adds, "I have enjoyed working under Cassell's direction and look forward to the challenges ahead."
'Round the Mountain Expands Education Program
ABINGDON, VA - Neva Bryan of St. Paul, Va., has been named education coordinator for "Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia's Artisan Network. Bryan's experience ranges from program development to public relations. She will develop and manage the planning and execution of educational programming, collaborating with organizations such as The Crooked Road, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Statewide Partners Program, the Southwest Virginia 4-H Educational Center's Cultural Heritage Project, and area colleges.
"Round the Mountain recently received funding from the Virginia Tobacco Commission and the Appalachian Regional Commission to expand its educational programming to benefit both members and the Southwest Virginia artisan community. The educational programming will provide the artisan community opportunities to improve their entrepreneurial and craft skills as well as highlight teaching opportunities for "Round the Mountain artisans.