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New Arts/Lexington plan
to address town concerns
By Alice Hinkle
Staff Writer


Despite a recent Arts/Lexington shakeup in administration, officials for the non-profit arts education and activities organization said the opening of spring classes this week in the former Munroe School building, 1403 Massachusetts Ave., went smoothly.

Cindy Samuelson, who chairs the Arts/Lexington board, said Monday that new staff members are on board and Arts/Lexington conflict of interest concerns raised earlier by Town Manager Richard White and the group's counsel John Hayward have been "completely addressed." Samuelson said any remaining concerns will be resolved with the establishment of a new board of directors, one of the changes outlined in a proposal to be submitted to White this week.

Some Arts/Lexington tenants found not in compliance with the the types of activities allowed in the town-owned building will be leaving she added.

While Samuelson said Monday the Arts/Lexington program is "back on track," White indicated he still has concerns about the organization. The manager has set a deadline of Thursday (today) for Arts/Lexington to-submit a new proposal for operating the education program it began a decade ago. White said an earlier proposal submitted by the group was incomplete.

Samuelson said the revised proposal was approved by the Arts/Lexington board Monday night and will be submitted before the deadline. If the new Arts/Lexington proposal does not satisfy the town's concerns White said he will be ready next week to issue a request soliciting proposals from other groups interested in running an arts/education program that meets terms and conditions acceptable to-the town.

New administrator,
education director

Samuelson reported that Nina Vansuch was hired April 25 as part-time education director and Susan Tornheim started April 12 as part-time administrator. They take over duties that had been carried out by former director Melinda Vinton and former education director Dianne Hazelton. Vinton was fired by the board in early April and Hazelton resigned following Vinton's dismissal. A new bookkeeper was expected to be hired this week.

According to Samuelson, the board is impressed with the credentials of the new staff members. "Both [Vansuch and Tornheim] are very enthusiastic and have, not only professional, but art backgrounds."

Vansuch, a Belmont resident, is director/administrator of the Burbank After School Program in Belmont and has served a counselor for teen substance abusers, runaways and as a pregnancy choice counselor. She created an arts program in Connecticut through co-writing of two grant proposals. Vansuch has also taught guitar, songwriting, singing and performing workshops, arranged bookings for performers and performed in clubs, radio and TV spots and composed music and lyrics.

Tornheim has experience in editorial work, publications and administration. She is a fiber artist and has designed, created and marketed felted wool clothing and accessories. Tornheim, who lives in Newton, is also former co-organizer of a 55-member crafts cooperative which operates a seasonal craft store.

Since some of the current tenants will be leaving Arts/Lexington, Samuelson said interested artists of all types are welcome to contact the Arts/Lexington office at 863-5960 to be considered, as affordable studio space becomes available.

Copyright © 1994 Lexington Minuteman
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.

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