Orcas Center hosts community forum

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and somehow the Orcas Center came through it relatively unscathed. After a year of controversy, the Orcas Center hosted the first of what Interim Director Tom Fiscus hopes will be many community conversations on May 16.

“We see this as sort of a forward-looking kind of thing. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend a long time looking in the rearview mirror,” Fiscus said. “We want to go forward and make the Orcas Center as glorious as it could possibly be.”

The Madrona Room sat anxious community members, waiting to hear what the future of the Orcas Center will look like, both physically and artistically. From the departure of long-time employees to the hiring of a new director who didn’t always see eye-to-eye with the creative artists of the community, the Orcas Center has been fraught with controversy.

Fiscus was named interim director following the resignation of Brian Kemp, who served in the position for almost a year. The center is currently seeking a permanent executive director, a facilities manager and a marketing assistant intern.

“If you look around at this past year you’ve noticed it’s been both a turbulent time but at the same time, artistically, it’s been an amazing time,” Fiscus said. “We had an amazing past year, artistically. And so, naturally, we want to keep that going.”

Fiscus referenced island-produced plays such as “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” “A Christmas Carol” and “Billy Elliot” as successful endeavors the center pursued recently.

Future events at the center this summer include a performance by a local dancing troupe, several concerts, live streaming events and another theater production.

While entertainment continues within the performance spaces, other parts of the center will be receiving some attention as well. There’s converting part of the warehouse into a rehearsal space for dancers and actors; repainting the exterior; retrofitting the center with LED lights; and many more maintenance projects to be done.

“The facility is a wonderful, beautiful facility, but like everything else, it’s like your car. You can’t put gas in it once and that’s good enough. It doesn’t work like that,” Fiscus said. “We have projects we need to work on and we’ve got a battle plan.”

Watch The Sounder for future events at the Orcas Center. For more information about the open positions at the Orcas Center, visit orcascenter.org/jobs/.