Delray Beach, FL, September 17, 2010 --(PR.com
)-- Alyona Ushe is the first to admit she has a challenging time ahead of her.
As the new director of the Creative City Collaborative (CCC) in Delray Beach, she is tasked with raising funds while managing and developing programs for the organization, which represents the city’s many cultural institutions and artists.
She is also in charge of turning a vacant warehouse in Pineapple Grove into a thriving arts incubator.
And that’s just part of Ushe’s three-page job description.
The former executive director of an opera association and founder of a theater company says she is confident that she can guide the collaborative toward meeting its goals of using the arts to draw tourists, create jobs and revitalize neighborhoods.
“Delray Beach has beautiful art galleries, wonderful programs at Old School Square, and fantastic artists in its midst,” said Ushe, who started her job earlier this summer. “The Collaborative is designed to highlight Delray’s cultural assets and help the community solidify its artistic niche.”
The Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, which funds the position, brought Ushe on board to assist the Collaborative with its mission. The CCC was created by the City Commission as the result of a 2006 cultural plan that recommended the creation of an umbrella nonprofit organization to better promote the arts and culture in Delray Beach.
Many arts and cultural programs in Delray and other parts of South Florida have taken a hit with the ongoing economic recession. But across the country, the nonprofit arts and culture industry is a financial driver, generating $166 billion in economic activity every year, according to Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit advocacy group in Washington, D.C.
Ushe’s main goal is to get the collaborative up and running. Although it was formed four years ago, the group has had a board of directors, but lacked the leadership of a director to develop and implement programs. Now that she is in place, Ushe will also manage the build-out of the 15,000 square foot warehouse at 313 NE Third Ave., which was recently purchased by the CRA to launch the cultural plan initiatives.
She envisions the warehouse as having space for visual and performing artists to create and promote their work, and as a place for art enthusiasts to attend performances and art exhibits, take classes with internationally renowned artists, and even sip coffee on the roof’s loft. If all goes as planned, Ushe hopes the warehouse could be operating within two years.
She has spent the summer meeting artists and corporate and community leaders, developing an administrative structure for the CCC, and developing programming for next season. She’s also gotten to know county cultural administrators and addressed federal funding possibilities with Congressman Ron Klein.
“I love the passion and the enthusiasm in Delray Beach,” she said.
Ushe came to Delray Beach from New Orleans where she was the executive director of the New Orleans Opera Association for two years. Before then, she founded and served as executive director of Classika Theatre in Arlington, Va. for 11 years. Born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in the former Soviet Union, she studied political science and Russian literature in college and business in graduate school.
She said she is enjoying organizing the Collaborative and its many upcoming activities.
“The timing is right to make the next step,” she said. “The possibilities are truly endless and I invite members of our community to get involved.”
For additional information about the CCC, email Alyona Ushe at email@example.com or call 561-243-7327.
Leon Fooksman is a journalist who writes for Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org