With support from the Vicksburg and Gilmore Foundations, the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center has hired its first full time executive director, Alisha Siebers, effective June 21. Alisha has 15 years of nonprofit management experience, including directing the annual campaign at the United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region, overseeing the membership program at the Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts and serving as a trustee for the Portage District Library.
An award winning-teacher, she has taught courses in literature, poetry, surrealist art, drama and writing at five colleges and universities, including WMU. She has a Ph.D. in English from University of California-Berkeley, where she researched hypnotism in British literature.
Alisha attended a year-long intensive course in nonprofit leadership sponsored by the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. “This course provided in-depth big picture immersion in creating vision, budgeting, ethics, and evaluation.,” she said. “These concepts were hammered home for me when I served for nine years on the Portage District Library board, three of them as board president. In that role I oversaw the library’s $3.5 million budget and led my board in three strategic plan renewals. I’m ready to partner with the VCAC to drive its vision and to deepen the center’s impact on Vicksburg and its surrounding communities.”
“I’m impressed by the support for the arts in the Vicksburg area,” Alisha said. “The Victorian art critic Walter Pater said that art gives us the highest quality to our moments. I’m looking forward to hearing from our region about how we can create these quality moments, together. This is a dynamic time for Vicksburg – a time to expand our reach so that everyone can be inspired, enriched, and educated by the arts.”
To this end, Alisha will work with the VCAC Board of Directors in a retreat in July to unify its objectives over the coming year and dream big into its future. Alisha is charged with bringing the voice of the community into that discussion. She wasted no time on this objective, amassing a large list of people to contact from artists, government officials, volunteers and leaders from other nonprofit organizations in the area on her first day.
Programming already in progress will transition to Alisha’s hands.
The VCAC will host hands-on art activities at the Vicksburg Farmers Market Fridays from 2-6 p.m. in July. Dates and activities will be posted on its Facebook page soon. Also, the VCAC will have art activities at the end of nature walks at the Mill, presented by the Mill at Vicksburg. Guides will lead participants on a scavenger hunt around the Mill and through its 80 acres. The nature walks continue the first Saturday of the month through September with morning and afternoon spots. For more information or to register, go to VicksburgMill.com. A fee of $10 per child will be collected at the check-in tent.
Arts in the Burg Summer Camp returns August 9 through August 13. A camp fee of $140 per camper includes all materials. Limited full and partial scholarships are also be available. While the camp is designed for children 8-12, parents of 7- and 13-year-olds may find this camp works for them too.
The Tournament of Writers Celebration will be September 16. All works entered into the competition will be published in the 7th “Small Town Anthology.” This event celebrates the authors with a whopping 51 entries, nearly doubled from last year. Readings from some of the authors and the announcement of the Judges’ Choice winner are highlights. The book will be available for purchase at the event and many of the authors will be on hand to sign books and talk about their works.
Alisha lives in south Portage with her husband Steve, a librarian. They have three grown sons who live in Utah, Texas, and New York City and a teenage daughter at home. If they don’t have their noses in a book, you will probably find Alisha and Steve walking around their block with their black cat, Vader, following them like a dog.
The Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center operates in the greater Vicksburg area. More information is online at vicksburgarts.com, Facebook and Instagram. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.