City of Vancouver Ends Employment of Managing Director of Cultural Services

The City of Vancouver has terminated the employment of managing director of cultural services, Rich Newirth.

Few details about the abrupt change, which took place on July 8, have been made available. According to reports by The Georgia Straight and CBC, the City released the following statement:

"Due to organizational changes at the City of Vancouver, Rich Newirth is no longer employed by the City. Rich was employed as managing director of cultural services. We would like to thank Rich for his work to raise the profile of public art in Vancouver.

"Art and Culture are critical elements of a high functioning and healthy city and the City will continue to move forward with its plans to elevate and emphasize art and culture in Vancouver.

"To support this, City Council recently gave a significant boost to Vancouver’s Public Art program, with $1.5 million to be spent through 2018. This includes the first-ever Vancouver Mural Festival as well as expanding community art grants to $195,000 annually, an increase of $300,000 over two years."

Newirth was appointed managing director of cultural services for the City of Vancouver in May of 2010 after acting in that capacity for the previous year. Prior to that, he served as the City's director of public art, planning and facilities development from 2007-2009. For the previous 12 years he had worked as director of cultural affairs at the San Francisco Arts Commission.

Members of Vancouver's arts and culture community are paying keen attention to these organizational changes within the City. According to 2012 research by Hill Strategies, although BC's provincial funding of arts and culture is among the lowest in comparison with other provinces, Vancouver's municipal support ranks among the highest when measured against other major Canadian cities. Maintaining a high level of municipal support for our creative economy is crucial for cultural organizations and artists in Vancouver.

Newirth reported to the general manager of community services, Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas, who was appointed to the role in the spring. 


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