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New arts director brings varied background to job

September 04, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Theresa Bachman-Myers admits her French horn is tucked away in a closet and she hasn't sung for an audience since she performed in high school musicals, but she said she is still an advocate for the arts - a key requirement in her new position as executive director of the Chambersburg Area Council for the Arts.

"In college I bought into the idea that you never make money with an arts degree. I fell for it and dropped everything," she said. "I haven't picked up the French horn for a long time."

In some ways Bachman-Myers has now come full circle.

Six weeks ago she assumed the part-time position of executive director, which makes her primarily responsible for writing grants and spearheading fund-raising activities to support the non-profit organization's programs.

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The Council for the Arts supports local artists, displaying their work at their South Main Street gallery and awarding grants. It also offers free programs for the public like the Arts Express!, which introduces children to art, music and dance.

Bachman-Myers said her background in sales is unrelated, but still relevant.

"You take the average artist and send them out the door to ask for $5,000. Chances are they would break into a cold sweat," she said.

Most recently, Bachman-Myers was a sales manager for the Public Opinion newspaper in Chambersburg, which is where she got to know Anne Finucane, program coordinator for the arts council, and Lisbeth Luka, the former executive director who retired this spring.

"I knew how happy they were, and that made it appealing to work here," Bachman-Myers said of her reason for applying for the position. "I have a couple of friends that are board members, and they didn't think it was odd a person with a business degree would want to work here."

According to Bob Crouse, president of the Board of Directors, Bachman-Myers was chosen for her local background and her work experiences.

"Since Theresa is a native of the area, she is very familiar with the region covered by the Council for the Arts. She also brings a solid background in business administration," he said.

Bachman-Myers said it also appealed to her to have a job that could make a difference in the community.

So far, she said nothing has been surprising, though it has been interesting learning how a nonprofit works.

"All things that are free to the public aren't free to us. I never thought about that before, now I think about it a lot," she said.

Bachman-Myers grew up in Shippensburg, Pa., and has a degree in management from Shippensburg University. She lives in Chambersburg with her husband, Bruce, and children Joshua, 17, and Jessica, 13.

The Chambersburg Area Council for the Arts is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The public is invited to an open house Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. for a new display featuring dolls and small quilted works by Margaret Lutzke and paintings by Katherine Steiger.

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