Valley Arts Council Director Departs Post

Posted: April 18, 2014

HARRISONBURG — The Arts Council of the Valley is weighing its options for future leadership after Executive Director Ragan McManus left last week.

Ginna Bauhan, president of the nonprofit’s board of directors, said she could not provide details about McManus’ departure because it was a personnel matter, but she confirmed Thursday there was a vacant position.

The board met Wednesday night and is not actively seeking a replacement at this point, Bauhan said.

“We feel like we have such a strong staff, strong board of directors … we expect everything to run smoothly,” she said.

Founded in 2000, the nonprofit hosts a variety of events, such as First Fridays in downtown Harrisonburg, and runs Court Square Theater. Its office is in the Smith House at 311 S. Main St., near the Municipal Building.

McManus started working as executive director in March 2012, leaving her post as director of exhibitions and education for the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach.

She could not be reached for comment Thursday.

In a newsletter earlier this month, Eddie Bumbaugh, executive director of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, credited McManus and theater manager Michael Weaver for enhancing the programming at the Court Square attraction. That includes adding new paint and carpet and partnering with Visulite Theater for projection and sound system improvements.

The arts organization has five staff members, excluding the executive director position. Its budget was not immediately available.

In recent years, City Council has made an annual allocation of $34,920 to the group. The amount for the coming fiscal year has yet to be set; City Manager Kurt Hodgen will present his draft budget to council Tuesday.

Rockingham County contributes $22,560 each year to the arts council, and the same amount is included in the proposed fiscal 2015 budget, County Administrator Joe Paxton said.

Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or