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Board decision allows BIAHC director to stay on through August

Zon Eastes, executive director of the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council. - Staff Photo/Brad Camp
Zon Eastes, executive director of the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council.
— image credit: Staff Photo/Brad Camp

BIAHC will keep Eastes through summer, plans to seek federal stimulus money.

Citing the need for strong leadership during the financial crunch, board members of the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council have voted to keep Zon Eastes as the executive director of BIAHC through August.

The BIAHC board was set to formalize Eastes' departure at a meeting Monday evening, but in a turnaround decided to hold out through the summer.

"Zon is a proven strong and effective leader," said BIAHC board president Anne Blair. "In times of uncertainty it's important to have a strong leader and to involve Zon for as long as possible."

BIAHC is an overarching organization that distributes city funds to 11 arts organizations and eight arts programs. Those organizations receive between 4-15 percent of their funding through the city's cultural element. Roughly half of BIAHC's funds come from the city.

That steady stream of money, which is used to offset the operating and administrative costs, will likely see a large reduction this Wednesday as the city struggles with its own financial burdens.

BIAHC will now attempt to secure federal stimulus money through the National Endowment for the Arts to help offset lost revenue.

The national organization received $50 million in stimulus money to distribute. Applications for stimulus funding are due in early April.

"We're the only island arts organization that qualifies for stimulus," Blair said.

Grants for local arts agencies can run between $100,000 and $250,000 according to the NEA website. The BIAHC grant application will be structured so that any funds acquired will be passed through to island arts and humanities groups, Blair said.

The organization will also look closer at how it spends its money and accrues private donations.

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