Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New director takes helm at The Center

Bill Ryberg settles in, sets priorities


By SABINA DANA PLASSE
Express Staff Writer

Bill Ryberg is the new executive director of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Ketchum-based Sun Valley Center for the Arts has a new leader.

Executive Director Bill Ryberg has arrived in the valley and has started working on the many projects that make The Center one of the valley's most valuable arts and cultural resources. Ryberg was hired earlier this year to replace former Executive Director Sam Gappmayer, who stepped down last October to take a job in Colorado.

Ryberg left his post as development consultant for the Indianapolis Opera Company to work for The Center. He has spent 13 years in the banking industry, including a position as vice president and regional manager for Key Bank in Washington state. He was the executive director of the Bellingham Festival of Music in Washington and also held leadership positions with the Palm Beach Opera (Florida), Oregon Symphony and Grand Rapids Symphony (Michigan).

"This is a terrific time to start because we all know summer [and how busy it is]," Ryberg said. "I am hitting the ground running."

Ryberg said he will address several issues for The Center, including looking at the role of the annual wine auction fundraiser in the operating budget, the completion of The Center's planned new headquarters facility, and continuing the tradition of a well-connected arts community.

"The key is to stay true to the mission of The Center," Ryberg said. "We want to keep the quality of programs as high as possible and be out in the community and tell our story, such as the challenges and the things that are going well."

Ryberg wants to make sure the community knows about The Center's successes, such as its lecture series. In addition, he thinks he can help The Center reach out more to valley residents.

"It is important to say that we can do a better job," Ryberg said. "We want a wider appeal this summer and to provide value, especially for young families and young professionals."

Construction of the new headquarters on the corner of Fourth Street and Second Avenue is a priority for Ryberg. He said the timeline for its completion will be shifted but he is optimistic that the building will be finished sooner than later.

"Any organization that is not well run will have debt, financial challenges and will suffer in the worst of economic downturns," Ryberg said. "The Center is well run and has an engaged board."

Ryberg said The Center's business model will not change but alterations to the organization's events and fundraisers may occur. Meet Ryberg at The Center's opening of "Idaho Fences" on Friday, June 5, from 5:30-7 p.m.

Sabina Dana Plasse: splasse@mtexpress.com




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