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EKU Center names interim director, announces 2012-13 season

Jill Price
Jill Price

RICHMOND — The Eastern Kentucky University Center for the Arts on Tuesday announced the lineup for its second season and named an interim director while a search committee looks for a successor to Debra Hoskins, who resigned last month.

Jill Price, currently the director of conferencing and events with the division of continuing education and outreach at EKU, will serve as the interim director. Price, who is a member of the center's community operations board and the search committee, will not seek the post permanently.

"We had talked about using our resources at EKU during this time so that we could focus our time and money on searching for the best permanent director," Price said after Tuesday's board meeting, where her appointment was approved.

Skip Daugherty, executive assistant to EKU President Doug Whitlock, said it was ideal to have an interim director who was strictly an interim.

"That makes it clear there's an opening," Daugherty said, "and you get a better pool of candidates."

Board President Harry Moberly said a job description was being finalized and the formal search process would begin soon.

Hoskins, who held the top job at the $30 million-plus arts center for a little more than a year, resigned in June after the university initially attempted to fire her. No reason has been given for her ouster.

All center leaders said they expected a search process of six months or more. That means Price, who noted she has worked extensively with the center before in presenting events there, will see the center through much of its upcoming season and actively participate in planning its 2013-14 season.

The 2012-13 season will open Sept. 11 with a performance by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra in a program celebrating America and features 20 artists delivering a total of 23 performances.

Among the marquee names on the lineup are standards crooner Tony Bennett, soul superstar Al Green, country guitar hero Vince Gill, pop stars Michael Bolton and Kenny Rogers, jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis and cello legend Yo-Yo Ma with his Silk Road Ensemble.

The lineup will also include a touring production of the musical A Chorus Line, the classic play Of Mice and Men by The Acting Company, and PBS fund-raising favorites Celtic Woman.

At the meeting, a committee was appointed to explore building programming in the center's black-box theater with touring and local artists; another committee will explore possibilities for the center as a visual arts venue.

Among changes that will be made in the coming season are a discontinuation of the valet parking service in favor of selling parking passes to subscribers and a shuttle service. Daugherty said the valet service created congestion and problems complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

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