BUCKHANNON — At the meeting that took place on Thursday, May 5, Buckhannon City Council approved a request for the employment of Colonial Arts Center Managing Director. Candidate Anne Wilson wowed everyone with her enthusiasm and passion and is also alumni from Buckhannon’s own West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Robbie Skinner called the recognized guests to the podium. The first guest to speak was John Waltz, Vice President for Enrollment Management at West Virginia Wesleyan College and and Chairman of the Colonial Arts Center Theatre Board. “I’m here to talk to you about the progress at the Colonial Arts Center to bring what I think is some good news on reaching the conclusion of our search,” Waltz said. “About a year ago was right when we started getting into these meetings and we started by establishing a mission statement for the Colonial Arts Center and a programming policy. It finally got to the point that we realized this thing was going to get done and we needed someone to work in there and use it as a driver for economic development and for tourism and for our youth more than anything.” Waltz then briefly discussed the search and interview process that was noted to be “extensive.” Waltz then turned to podium to Co-Chair of the Colonial Arts Center Theatre Board Erika Klie Kolenich.
“Good evening everyone. Thank you for allowing John and I to come present and speak to you tonight,” Klie Kolenich started. “As John alluded to, we conducted quite an extensive search process and the conclusion that we came to is that we would like to recommend Anne Wilson for the position of what we have called the Colonial Arts Center Manager, as opposed to the director. So if you’ll let me explain… Anne is a wonderful young lady, who has an Arts Management degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College and two things drew us to Anne. Those two things are growth and passion. She exhibits more passion than anybody I have ever heard talk about this process. She became almost teary-eyed telling us the story about how, when she was in college at Wesleyan and heard that Buckhannon was undertaking an art center, how excited she got about the idea that she could stay in Buckhannon.”
Klie Kolenich continued with further details about Wilson and the plan for the Colonial Arts Center. “Anne is someone who has passion and exuberance to grow with the Colonial Arts Center. Because of that, she is someone we think could come in at a more modest salary that would allow us to use some of that extra money we talked about having to hire a consultant to guide Anne Wilson and the Colonial Arts Center to the successful project that we know that it can be. Again, she is a wonderful young lady and she has agreed if accepted by council to accept a very, what we think, is a very modest salary for the undertaking that she’s going to be doing, so it is on behalf of the Colonial Arts Center Board, I would request that you approve Anne Wilson as the Colonial Arts Center manager.
Mayor Skinner followed up by acknowledging that he himself and councilman C.J. Rylands are both alums of West Virginia Wesleyan College. Mayor Skinner said, “Everything Erika just captured is absolutely true. Anne spoke with a great deal of enthusiasm about the project and about the theater in itself. I think that we can extend an employment opportunity to a Wesleyan student who’s not from Buckhannon to stay in Buckhannon.”
Buckhannon City Recorder Randy Sanders also spoke about Wilson. “I concur with the mayor and with Erika and her recommendation to hire Anne Wilson,” Sanders said. “Wilson just really came alive in the second interview. The first interview was solid, but she really had started hitting some home runs in that second interview and the enthusiasm and we were able to meet with her one-on-one.”
Councilwoman Pamela Bucklew also spoke on the request to hire Wilson. “I can concur what they had to say. I only got to see the second interview and she had such energy and she was very impressive in that way. I think that energy will really show getting that community here going and I’m really excited about it,” Bucklew stated.
Mayor Skinner then requested a motion that was entertained first by councilwoman Bucklew and seconded by councilman Rylands. Following the decision by council, it was also noted that Wilson will begin her duties as soon as possible. Buckhannon City Council will have their next regular meeting on Tuesday, May 17 at 7 p.m. in council chambers.