Saying hello, goodbye to leaders at Arts Council

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The Lancaster County Council of the Arts has seen a lot of changes lately. 

Last month, executive director Sam Courtney, who led the council for the past six years, announced that he was resigning. This month, Debbie Jaillette stepped into the executive director’s role.

The Arts Council, located in the old Springs House on Gay Street, promotes the arts in Lancaster County by providing educational opportunities for students and various programming for the general public, among other services. 

Under Courtney’s leadership, the council expanded its annual arts and science children’s summer camp, added premier productions such as “The Nutcracker” and  strengthened its partnership with Lancaster County School District. 

“It’s been a good six years. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Courtney said. “I hope I’ve made some difference in the arts.” 

But he says it’s time for someone else to bring fresh ideas and new energy to the council. 

The council turned to one of its own – longtime arts council board member Jaillette – to fill Courtney’s shoes. 

Jaillette brings a wealth of arts experience to her new role, both as a musician herself and as a longtime supporter of the arts. A past president of the Arts Council’s board, she sees herself as an extension of the council’s strategic plan. Her goals include providing more accessible programs, remaining an arts advocate, serving as a local arts resource and growing its membership. 

Jaillette said increasing the council’s membership is vital, as funding shortages continue to have a huge impact. She has her work cut out for her there. The recent 100 percent funding cut from the county – a  loss of $7,841  – is a case in point.

One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is the group’s commitment to enhancing the quality of life in Lancaster County through the arts. 

We have a vibrant arts community here in Lancaster County, one that many communities our size would envy. You can find some kind of arts event going on here almost any time, many of them free. That wouldn’t be the case without a strong arts council, championing and supporting our local arts community.

Let’s keep it that way. Support our local  artists and arts council through donations, volunteering and by attending local exhibits, receptions and performances. 

The arts are not just for the elite among us, they are for everybody. A strong arts council can help ensure that the arts and cultural experiences continue to be available to all. 

We thank Sam Courtney for his six years of service to the arts council and wish him well in his next endeavor.

We welcome Debbie Jaillette as the arts council’s new executive director of the arts council and look forward to seeing what the council will do under her leadership.

 And we encourage the community to support the arts council. It’s here to help enrich all our lives.