Laura Martier Steps Down from DCAC-Personal Reflection on Five Years of Accomplishment
By Kip Tabb –
Laura Martier, who has been the executive director of the Dare County Arts Council since January of 2007 is stepping down tomorrow (Friday). There will be a press release or two about it (I should know—I just wrote one.), and comments and commentary.
So, since I am both a writer and a member of the DCAC board of directors, I suppose I should include my commentary.
From the standpoint of the board of directors, it gives us a chance to bring in someone new with a fresh perspective and maybe a different set of skills. Which in no way denigrates the accomplishments of Laura, which have been extraordinary.
Working with Laura is a pretty amazing experience—she is energy incarnate, and her expectation is that everyone will bring the same energy and enthusiasm to a project that she does. I will admit that at times it can be difficult to match that type of enthusiasm . . . especially working multiple jobs as many of us do. But it is that energy, that take-no-prisoners drive, that has propelled the Arts Council into the fabric of Dare County life.
When she took over the Executive Director’s position, the DCAC was in a difficult position. The previous director had not been a good fit, and did not last very long. As an organization, the DCAC didn’t seem to be going anywhere and didn’t seem to be growing.
What Laura seemed to understand from the outset was that the arts was much more than a painting or photograph, and she moved quickly to fill what I suspect she saw as a void in the creative portfolio of the council.
She began a community instrumental music program for disadvantaged youth. The program is on hold right now, largely because of damage caused by Irene—but hopefully it will start up again. She championed the voice and Outer Banks instrumental musicians, which stands to reason, if you’ve ever heard her sing . . . an extraordinary and rewarding experience.
The Outer Banks Sounds—a once-a-month gathering of Outer Banks musicians at Kelly’s is very much a product of her vision. The CD from those magical nights will be released may 14.
Laura asked me to join the board because she felt the Council needed to reach out to local writers. We’re still working on it, but with a monthly open mic reading and a literary month scheduled for next March, we’re making progress.
Perhaps her greatest accomplishment is the historic Courthouse is Manteo that has become the DCAC home. Yes, there were a lot of factors involved; yes, a lot of people worked together to get it to happen. But somewhere, in the back of my mind, I have this suspicion that if Laura Martier had not felt so passionately about it, it would not have happened.
As is often the case when someone leaves a leadership position, there is a tremendous legacy. And that is certainly the case with Laura. That does not mean that I, as an individual and sometimes members of the board, always agreed with everything she did. That happens in all professional settings.
Yet, by any criteria that can be applied, the DCAC is in a far, far better position today than it was when she took on the role of Executive Director. Of course she can be replaced—but she will be missed.