September 26, 2012

Longtime Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center executive director resigns

By Paul Koenig
Staff Writer

GARDINER -- The executive director of Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center is leaving at the end of the month after over eight years at the nonprofit, which hosts educational and performing arts programs at its historic downtown venue.

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Judy Lloyd, center, has resigned after 8 years as executive director of the Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center in Gardiner.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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The exterior of Johnson Hall, the historic theater on Water Street in Gardiner.

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"It's been eight-and-a-half years. It's a lot of nights and weekends, and it's time for a change in my life," Judy Lloyd said Wednesday.

Lloyd, 62, who lives in Brunswick, said she doesn't know what she'll do next but would like to continue contributing to the state of Maine.

Paul Pidgeon, president of the Johnson Hall Board of Directors, said he expects to hire a new executive director in the next couple months.

Pidgeon called Lloyd, who was previously the only full-time staff member, a hard worker and extremely knowledgeable.

"It wouldn't be where it is today without her at the helm," he said of Johnson Hall.

Pidgeon called the resignation "a mutual parting of the ways," though he conceded the board of directors wants to take Johnson Hall in a new direction with the change. That includes more public awareness about the arts center, he said, and a desire to bring in "new and exciting programs."

Pidgeon declined to elaborate on what the new programing would look like or what else the new direction would involve. Lloyd said she didn't know additional details about what new programs the board of directors had in mind.

Of the programs Lloyd brought to Johnson Hall, she said she's particularly proud of the children's programming because it encourages children's creativity.

"I didn't invent it, but I improved it and kept it funded and happening," she said.

The board of directors said in a statement that Lloyd expanded several arts education programs, including the Summer and Winter Shenanigans theater arts camps for children, the Teen Elementary School Shows program in area schools, the Upstage Youth Company, the Waterfront Talent Show, the Teen Band Program, and the new Film Camp. She also balanced budgets, oversaw fundraising and grant-writing, the board said.

Lloyd said a big part of what she did in recent years was planning for renovations to the second and third floors of Johnson Hall, which are only used for storage. However, they had to abandon a capital campaign for the renovations in 2008 after Great Recession took hold, Lloyd said.

"It has been a little frustrating that we haven't been able to undertake the big renovation upstairs," Lloyd said.

"The arts are not always the first on people's list on what they want to give money to or be a part of," she added. "And yet they are so important for the community."

According to the most recent financial statements publicly available, the nonprofit's total assets were about $351,000. Lloyd was paid $48,250.

Pidgeon said the board's main focus now is to improve the first floor and make it as comfortable and exciting as possible for people attending events and programs. He said they would still love to see large donor come forward to help make the second and third floor renovations possible.

Pidgeon said Johnson Hall has hired David Greenham, the former director of the Theater at Monmouth, as a consultant to aid in the search for a new director. Greenham will be assisting in some of Lloyd's old duties for now, along with the board of directors, said Pidgeon.

Pidgeon doesn't know how long Greenham will stay on for but said it will be at least six months. Greenham will also help with hiring of a new executive director.

Pidgeon said an office manager has been hired to do some of the day-to-day tasks Lloyd had been doing such as tickets sales, contacting performers and taking phone calls.

Paul Koenig -- 621-5663

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Additional Photos

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Judy Lloyd, executive director of Johnson Hall, said donations will help restore the theater on the third floor of the non-profit performance space in Gardiner. Fundraising effort is underway to restore the historic theater on Water Street.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy


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