Dec 19, 2008 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Eastwood resident Stephen Butler takes over at the CRC:
A Central New York native with a solid background in arts administration and community service began serving the burgeoning area arts scene here after he was named as executive director of the Cultural Resources Council of Syracuse and Onondaga County.
The CRC Board of Directors named Eastwood resident Stephen Butler as its new director on Dec. 7. Butler will increase awareness of cultural activities and issues in Central New York and develop partnerships with other cultural groups, businesses and individual artists to raise visibility of the impact of the arts on the community, according to Carole Brzozowski, president of the CRC Board of Directors.
Brzozowski, who’s an arts presenter at Syracuse University, said the board conducted a national search for a new director after Leo Crandall left the job last year to accept a position at the Everson Museum. The board’s vice-president, Patrick O’Connor, then left the board to serve as interim director and has now rejoined the board.
While the search went nationwide, the CRC eventually chose an applicant who grew up in Baldwinsville and now lives in Eastwood. His local roots will likely benefit both the CRC itself and the hundreds of area artists and institutions it serves.
Butler sounds anxious to tackle the many tasks in front of him.
“The biggest challenge for all non-profits right now is the recession and its impact on funding streams, whether they be from government or foundations,” he said. “I think CRC’s particular challenge is to develop a viable strategic plan that serves arts in the 21st century.”
Though Butler most recently worked as executive director of the Mental Health Association of Onondaga County, he has plenty of experience in the arts administration field. While working in New York City from the mid-1980s to 2004, he managed information systems for the Manhattan Theatre Club before working for the Alliance of Resident Theaters/NY.
Butler became director public affairs for the Alliance of NYS Arts Councils and later the executive director of Creative Alternatives of New York. Creative Alternatives operated a drama-therapy program for psychiatric or otherwise traumatized individuals at Mt. Sinai Medical Center.
In the mid-1990s he received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship for a strategic planning program he conducted for six months in Washington, D.C.
He returned to Syracuse four years ago to earn his Master’s Degree in public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Now he’s ready to oversee the CRC, whose mission is to ensure the vitality and diversity of culture in CNY.
“For a community of our size, we have one of the most diverse and professional arts communities around,” Butler said. “My goal in joining the council is to develop a greater appreciation for and support of the arts and cultural vibrancy in our region.”
Butler’s interest in arts and entertainment goes all the way back to his teen years when he appeared in Baldwinsville Theatre Guild production such as “The Music Man” and “The Girl in the Freudian Slip.” Later he majored in theater at SUNY Oswego.
“So I’ve come full circle,” he said.