Finalists for Carson City cultural position make pitch

Two candidates for Carson City’s new arts and culture coordinator job made presentations to an audience of about 50 people Wednesday at the Brewery Arts Center.

Sue-Anne Chapman and Mark Salinas, two of the three final contenders narrowed down from 48 applicants, spoke about 20 minutes each, outlining their careers and ideas for the capital’s arts and culture scene.

The third finalist chose not to take part in the public meeting because of his current employment.

Chapman, a native Australian who now lives in San Diego, worked for 16 years in tourism, marketing and communications, including stints with the Gold Coast Australian football club and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

That last job helped her land a position with The Arts Centre Gold Coast, where she worked as director of marketing and communications, coordinator of its film festival and acting director of commercial operations.

“The center was my significant other,” said Chapman.

“It had the same boss and the same formula for 23 years. I was recruited to help transform the city’s white elephant.”

The arts center houses a theater, art gallery, two movie theaters, a cafe, several function rooms, a chapel and two small performance spaces.

During her tenure, the center’s visitor count went from 300,000 in 2010 to 730,000 by the time she left in April, Chapman said.

Its publicity via media went from an advertising equivalent of $500,000 annually to $5.5 million, she said.

Chapman said the Carson City arts and culture master plan “is a bold and exciting roadmap, one I’d be proud to implement.”

Salinas lives in Queens, N.Y., where he runs his own marketing and design firm that specializes in displays and exhibition environments. Clients include Nike, Chanel and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Salinas also started 7trainmurals, a nonprofit community group of volunteers who paints murals in blighted spaces located along the 7 commuter train in Queens and Manhattan.

“Our mission is to revitalize vacant areas the train runs through,” said Salinas.

He also started up a painting class for four Boy Scout groups with 14 scouts earning merit badges and a dinner for artists that featured Chef Dave from the Top Chef television show and prior to starting up his business worked in art galleries.

Salinas shared his ideas for Carson City, including an artist exchange program with New York artists, a passport for teens that would help them earn recognition for volunteering in the arts community, and bringing arts to the city’s seniors citizens.

“My personal belief is if we take care of our youth and seniors everyone in the middle will be happy,” Salinas said.

After their presentations, the two candidates mingled with audience members, who were invited to submit comments about each.

The candidates were interviewed earlier in the day by a panel of six, including City Manager Nick Marano, Supervisor Karen Abowd, and Joel Dunn, executive director, Carson City Visitors Bureau.

“They did an outstanding job,” said Dunn. “I’ve been with them a few days, they’ve been immersed in the community and I’ve seen them interact with everyone.”

Dunn came up with the idea of having a public forum for the candidates so the local arts community could engage in the process.

The panel will make a decision and hopes to make a job offer by the end of the week and have a coordinator in place by October, said Dunn.

“Both were excellent candidates and Carson City would be lucky to have either one,” said Supervisor Lori Bagwell after the presentations.


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