Hunt Hill axes Silo Gallery gallery director job
The position of gallery director at the Silo has been eliminated by Hunt Hill Farm Trust.
The change became effective June 23 at the nonprofit cultural center at Hunt Hill Farm, located along Upland Road in the Northville district of New Milford.
Liba Furhman, the trust's executive director, said Ms. Culbertson's work at The Silo will be handled by remaining staff -- Ms. Furhman, as well as Mary Kraveg, director of the cooking school, and Kim Prange, manager of the retail shop.
"The current economic conditions have altered the operations of many nonprofit organizations..." said Arthur Weinshank, Trust president, in a press release.
"As a cultural center in New Milford," he added, "we must be fiscally prudent. This personnel change was a painful decision to make."
In a parting email to gallery artists, Ms. Culbertson wrote that the executive board of directors informed her June 8 "they have decided to change the direction of the gallery due to the lingering recession."
Ms. Furhman gave assurances "there will be no disruption of gallery operations during the transition period."
Mr. Weinshank said "much thought and collaboration" is being put into the new direction for the gallery.
Ms. Culbertson is credited with creating many programs that became cultural staples in the Greater New Milford area, from organizing juried art exhibits for adults to heading Easter egg decorating workshops for children.
In 2009, she conceived and started the Artist in Residence program.
Davyne Verstandig of the Litchfield County Writers Project at the University of Connecticut's Torrington branch was the program's first artist in residence.
She has since taken part in poetry and musical events at The Silo organized by Ms. Culbertson.
"As many of you know, I have truly loved every aspect of my work and shared a passionate commitment to Ruth's vision," Ms. Culbertson wrote, in reference to Ruth Henderson, who founded the Silo Gallery in 1975 at Hunt Hill Farm.
Mr. Weinshank thanked Ms. Culbertson for her time at The Silo and wished her well in future endeavors.
"In her tenure, Valerie's dedication, tireless efforts and passion for the mission of Hunt Hill Farm was evident in her work," he said.