Arts Whistler welcomes new executive director

Maureen Douglas was officially appointed to the position on Thursday (Aug. 11)

One of the Sea to Sky Corridor’s greatest arts and culture advocates is taking the helm of Arts Whistler.

Long-time art proponent Maureen Douglas was officially named the new executive director of Arts (formerly the Whistler Arts Council), six months after taking on the role on an interim basis.

Douglas, who served as the director of communications and community relations for the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, is known throughout the region for her involvement in the community as a strategist and facilitator. She also spent a decade as the director of festivals and events at Tourism Whistler, and four years as a member of Art Whistler’s board of directors.

Douglas’s experience made her the perfect candidate to step down from the board and take temporary leadership of Arts Whistler following former executive director Doti Niedermayer’s departure from the organization this past February.

Since, Douglas oversaw the rebranding and repositioning of Arts Whistler before throwing her name into the pool of applicants.  

“We’ve kind of renewed our direction with the help of this Canadian Heritage grant we have,” Douglas said, referencing the $489,500 grant the organization received from the federal government in March. “What the board wanted in an executive director changed a bit as our direction did … I thought this would be an interesting opportunity to lead this team through the next stage of operations.”

Douglas was chosen after an extensive recruitment process facilitated by a hiring committee of the Arts Whistler board of directors, as well as a third-party human resources firm that was brought in to manage the process.

“I’m really thrilled and honoured that the board thought I’d be the best fit,” Douglas said. “I was also delighted when I saw the staff was happy about it, too. We’ve worked really well together.”

“(The board) made sure I was emotionally invested,” she joked.

Arts Whistler chair Heather Paul said the board is impressed with the new and improved direction in which Douglas has steered the organization since taking its helm.

“Arts Whistler is looking forward to Maureen’s impactful leadership style as we strive to contribute to a creative, inspiring and successful future for our members, artists, peers, patrons and resort community,” Paul stated in a press release.

Part of this new direction in which Douglas will lead Arts Whistler is the creation of cultural tours throughout the Village and the valley, including the Cultural Connector route already released by the municipality.

Going forward, Douglas’s mandate as executive director also includes leading Arts Whistler’s staff through strategic planning, partnerships, arts and entertainment programming, and boosting Whistler’s arts scene by fostering the local performers, artists and spaces that occupy it.

“It’s just going further down the track of where we’ve been, and continuing to enhance Whistler’s arts and culture scene,” Douglas said. “There’s so many ways to participate in it and enjoy it.”

“I’m excited,” she added. “It’s been a busy time, but I’m excited to make fun things happen with this group.”

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