SCCA director resigns

Published 10:25 pm Friday, October 24, 2008

The director of the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts announced his resignation Friday.

Michael Bollinger, who was hired in February 2005 on a 3-year contract, said he’s leaving to pursue other artistic ventures.

“I was originally hired for two big jobs,” he said. “One was to actually open the center … then, to breathe artistic life into it.

Email newsletter signup

“I feel that I’ve done both of those pretty well.”

Bollinger said the center, which has been heavily funded by city coffers, has succeeded in attracting award-winning artists and opening visual and performing arts classes that weren’t available in the city two years ago.

“We’ve got Grammy and CMA (Country Music Award) and Dove Award artists coming into the center who wouldn’t have thought about performing in downtown Suffolk two years ago.”

Bollinger will work at the center until Dec. 31, he said.

“I should leave it in pretty good order,” he said, noting that programming and classes will be scheduled for months ahead of time.

Whitney Saunders, president of the board that owns the center, said Bollinger was instrumental in getting the center ready to open.

“We just feel like he’s done an excellent job in getting the center ready over the course of the period of time he’s been here,” he said. “He’s done a great job with the artistic side of things.”

Doug Naismith will take over as interim executive director until the governance committee finds Bollinger’s replacement, Saunders said.

“We have an experienced hand to take charge in Michael’s absence.”

Bollinger is a graduate of the Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts in St. Louis, Mo. He’s no stranger to running performing arts venues – he started his own theater straight out of college, and then was artistic director of the Lyceum Theater in St. Louis. During his 25 years there, they built a new theater and scene shop.

“I wouldn’t mind my next artistic home being a producing theater,” he said. A producing theater builds productions from the ground up, whereas a presenting theater like the Suffolk center brings in acts to perform.

“I wouldn’t mind getting to a place that would have that as part of the mix.”