Rumor Has It

A Make.Shift Memo

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

It’s possible that a worldwide pandemic is not the most ideal time for an arts nonprofit to undertake a search for a new executive director, but when is an ideal time for that, really?

Of course, taking over an organization with as many moving parts as the multiuse, multipurpose space that is Make.Shift when some of those parts aren’t moving at the moment, is not the worst way to get in and get acclimated.

What I’m trying to say is Make.Shift is officially on the hunt for a new executive director.

First, gratitude to outgoing executive director Katie Gray for her stewardship of and service to a space that along with being so vitally important to our arts and all-ages communities, is also sacred to so many of us.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “I’d love to apply for that job,” well, good on you. I believe they can use all of the interested and enthusiastic applicants they can get. It’s a full-time, salaried position and lord knows those are not easy to come by in Bellingham’s arts community.


I have spent nearly 20 years working for a successful arts nonprofit—the Pickford Film Center—including during times of extraordinary growth. Mind you, I’m a projectionist, and not in a management or administrative position, but I’ve been there long enough to get the lay of the land and to have firm ideas about what it takes to keep an arts nonprofit not just viable, but growing, changing and expanding with the times and needs of its patrons.

Perhaps you’d like to apply to run Make.Shift because you love the space, are passionate about visual arts, music, radio broadcasting and all of the many other functions the nonprofit serves.

That’s a great starting point. However.

In truth, a good executive director—and I’ve served under a couple of excellent ones—must balance the fun things like all of the arts-related stuff with, frankly, the stuff that is not nearly as fun but sometimes more important. I’m talking about fundraising, board relations, fundraising, budgeting, fundraising, donor cultivation, fundraising, management of the physical space, fundraising, public relations, fundraising, staff management, fundraising, bookkeeping and fundraising.

If you notice that I mentioned fundraising a lot of times, it wasn’t an accident and I didn’t glitch out.

It is my opinion—and my opinion alone—that what Make.Shift needs to survive and thrive is someone who prioritizes donor cultivation, knows how to bring in money and is capable of formulating a plan for growth and launching a capital campaign if need be. Despite the fact that it’s been around a minute, much of Make.Shift’s potential is just that—potential. Which is both exciting and a compelling opportunity for the right person. If you think you are that person, head to Make.Shift’s website and suss out all the details.

Past Columns
Live From the Park

September 2, 2020

Pandemic Priorities

August 19, 2020

Of Falafel and the Future

August 5, 2020

Reign of Payne Returns

July 22, 2020

It’s Tinga Time!

July 8, 2020

A Trickle of Tunes

June 24, 2020

One Strange Summer

June 10, 2020

COVID Chronicles

May 27, 2020

Pandemic Problems

May 13, 2020

A Bummer Summer

April 29, 2020

The Show Goes On

April 15, 2020

My Pandemic Diary

April 7, 2020

We’re Baaaaack

April 1, 2020

Strange Days

March 25, 2020

Making it through

March 18, 2020

Pandemic Panic

March 11, 2020

You’ve got mail

March 4, 2020

Of bongos and backwards balls

February 26, 2020

Drink it up

February 19, 2020

Apologies in Advance

February 12, 2020