To the Editor:

The year began for me with a difficult decision: whether to renew my position on the board of directors of Village Center for the Arts in New Milford, an organization that I loved dearly.

Having served on the board the past seven years since January 2011, the first six as chairman, it was not an easy decision to make, but ultimately I decided that it was time.

The past seven years have been transformative for VCA, creating unique events like Paint The People and the IPA tasting and dinner; integrating with the public school system with programs such as “The Unexpected Artist;” impacting the community with activities like the Mosaic tile project or by participating in every public opportunity to face paint or share art.

We expanded our pottery offerings, opening an independent studio; engaged every age and demographic through such offerings as our memorable summer camps — often the highlight of the year for children near and far; by showcasing local artists; by reinventing our programming, staying fresh and ahead of the creative curve, often copied — which is the highest compliment.

At VCA we offered opportunities to many, many children and families to explore their creativity and enrich their spirit, that would not have been possible, due to fiscal or social obstacles.

We took on the challenge of expansion into New York City and proved to ourselves, through “VCA NYC” that, if so desired, we could do it.

VCA has been a safe haven; a bright spot in the center of town where all are welcome, regardless of color or creed, rich or poor, gifted or challenged, popular or unseen. VCA is where people can discover who they are, what they can do, without judgment or time limits or the constraints of conformity. They are welcome for it is their VCA. It is all of ours. VCA is a gift to the community.

I believe the organization is on the cusp of opportunity. The new administration has pledged its support for VCA. There are new grant opportunities, building assistance, community partnerships and more, that are important pursuits for the future of VCA.

I have every confidence in the board, helmed by Chairman Ben Grinnell, the dedicated staff, led by Executive Director Sharon Kaufman and Jayson Roberts, founder, to apply their creativity, drive and expertise to take VCA to the next level.

Being on this journey with them, and those who have served previously, has been a joy and a privilege. VCA will always be a part of me and I look forward to the next chapter.

Kevin Bielmeier

New Milford