A toast to the end of an era

It’s worth acknowledging that next week, the Arts in Glens Falls won’t be the same. This is the last week for both Erin Coon, Executive Director of The Charles R. Wood Theater, and Ellen Bütz, Executive Director of LARAC. I’m proud to call them both friends, colleagues, and Advokate clients.

We have been working together (along with Jacky Touba, founder of World Awareness Children’s Museum and current Board President of NorthCountryARTS) for several years now, creating an Arts Trail here in Glens Falls.

The Arts Trail’s sidewalk stamps are due to go in this summer! I have hopes that Erin and Ellen will continue to be involved in the project, but I also understand that priorities change. Luckily, Erin is also the Treasurer of Art in the Public Eye, and so she’s got a good reason to stay involved.

Ellen is a wood carver in her other life, and married to Rick Bütz, former TV personality! I hope that she has some creative time once she isn’t on 687 boards and running LARAC concurrently. Advokate did Rick’s website a few years ago. It’s been so important to have Ellen as the overlap in the Venn Diagram between all of the things going on in Glens Falls.

I feel the same way about Erin. She’s a real dynamo, and can write and fundraise and put together an event like nobody else I know. Erin and I have been buddies for a long time, and we were both always dreamers, wanting to get things done. I’m glad we are, now. Erin’s also co-owner of Fun World Arcade with her husband Sean Culligan, and has another venture in the works. We designed their new logo, just launched their revamped website last week, and are working on a rack card design now. Little known fact: It was Erin who nominated me for the Independent Business of the Year Award! She has always been supportive and lovely. We’ve been on boards together, and in bands together.

I’m going to miss being pals with Executive Directors, and while they deserve every bit of kudos for what they’ve accomplished professionally and who they are personally, they also deserve some R&R. I’ll be glad to stay in touch with them socially, and through our Advokate work together.

Ladies, I toast you and all of your accomplishments! Here’s wishing you some well earned down time before you jump into what comes next.

We are in good hands with Candice Frye, new Executive Director of LARAC, and Dan Slavin, new Program Director at the Wood. Their boards chose well. Both are exceptional talents: Smart cookies with clever, innovative ideas; a friendliness and sense of humor that attracts support and makes them easy to love; and a willingness to jump in deep and get it done right, even under pressure.

Glens Falls is lucky to have (and to have had!) such dedication, creativity and talent at the helm of its arts organizations.

Kate Austin-Avon

Kate Austin-Avon is the owner and founder of Advokate, LLC. She lives in Glens Falls, New York, with her husband Cory (Vice President of Advokate!) and their three children.