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Teresa Novinger named acting executive director

May 13, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The Imperial Valley Arts Council board of directors named El Centro resident and longtime arts supporter Teresa Novinger as acting executive director.

The action came at Thursday's board meeting.

"I am very pleased," Novinger said Friday. "It's something I've been doing for awhile. It's putting a title to what I've been doing for awhile."

Novinger, 36, replaces Nan Rebik, who'd held the position for about two years. She was dismissed by the Arts Council board several weeks ago.

Novinger said the interim position is expected to be a two-month appointment, until the board can advertise and seek a permanent replacement.

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"I intend to put my application in," Novinger said of the permanent position. "It's a fun job. It's a lot of work, but it's a fun job."

Novinger said one of her goals is to increase the participation in the arts by those community members typically under-represented.

For example, she said the nonprofit organization will have mirrors installed so children who cannot afford dance lessons can take lessons through the Arts Council, which will charge a minimal amount. Her plans include some type of ballet for children in wheelchairs.

Novinger said such classes will likely be underwritten, though the details have not been worked out.

"We've got the facility here," she said, referring to the Old Post Office Pavilion. "We just need to get more people involved, both children and adults."

Another idea is to host a lecture series on a variety of topics, to be led by local experts in the field.

"The whole idea of the arts center is to give something back to the community," Novinger said. "We have a whole new energy at the Arts Council."

Arts Council president Clyde Shields said Novinger was hired because the organization needed somebody full-time on site in the position.

"She has demonstrated her ability," he said. "We're all real impressed with her because of some of the work she's done already."

Shields said Novinger has helped develop a summer program of musical instrument instruction, singing and acting, as well as the budget needed to carry out the program. He also said the program will include more children than last year's.

"It looks like we're going to have a good program this year," Shields said. "We have quite a lot of money to raise but I think we can do it."

Novinger was previously the owner, creator and director of the El Centro-based Whimsical Theatre of the Imagination, where she developed and organized educational arts curricula for youth.

She holds a degree in English from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

She has been a legal intern, a writer and studied graduate-level courses in general litigation.

The Arts Council is sponsoring the 10th annual Mariachi Festival Sin Fronteras on Saturday at the Imperial Valley Expo in Imperial.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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