Juan de Fuca Foundation seeking new director

Kyle LeMaire to step down after Memorial Day festival

  • By Diane Urbani de la Paz For Peninsula News
  • Saturday, March 30, 2024 1:30am
  • NewsClallam County
Kyle LeMaire.

Kyle LeMaire.

PORT ANGELES — The 31-year-old Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts is in the midst of a transition, including the search for a new executive director.

Kyle LeMaire, chief of the nonprofit organization since August 2021, will leave the job soon after the Juan de Fuca Festival May 24-26.

“I love this organization more than anything in the world,” LeMaire said this week.

Yet it’s time to move on, he said, adding he has arts-related work in his future but can’t yet disclose specifics.

“For me and my family, it’s the right move, for more time and more work-life balance,” said LeMaire, 41.

The executive director role, after many years as a part-time position, is now full time with a salary of $68,000 to $75,000, according to the job description at JFFA.org.

Found under the Get Involved heading on the home page, the description notes the executive director “manages all marketing efforts, community outreach and engagement, the technical production of all events (both live and virtual), and volunteer coordination.”

The executive director is the chief fundraiser and manages an annual budget of $350,000.

JFFA organizes the multifaceted May festival, 10 summertime Concerts on the Pier, a July youth camp, several school music programs and a variety of performing arts events throughout the year.

“We’re absolutely looking for someone who has lots of enthusiasm for creative programming and event production,” said Kayla Oakes, a former JFFA executive director who is vice president of the board.

“It would be amazing,” she said, “if we found two or three really strong candidates toward the end of April. Then we would invite people for interviews,” and if there’s a standout applicant come Juan de Fuca Festival time, “we could have them shadow [the crew] and live the festival with us.”

The lineup for the 2024 festival will be unveiled at JFFA.org this Monday. Tickets to the Memorial Day weekend event, which spreads across stages at the Vern Burton Community Center, the Elks Naval Lodge ballroom and Field Arts & Events Hall, will go on sale at the same time.

When LeMaire was asked what advice he’d give the new executive director, he said it’s key to keep JFFA’s mission top of mind. That mission is giving the local community access to the arts, he said.

“That has always been on the forefront of my mind,” LeMaire said, adding the community has responded to JFFA’s efforts. As he started the job in 2021, the Concerts on the Pier drew “maybe 2,000 people,” he said.

“Last year, we had 6,000.”

The hardest parts of this job, LeMaire said, stem from the organization’s growth — with the same few people doing the work. Two paid staffers, LeMaire and Operations Manager Kari Chance, work with a few contractors to produce and promote all of JFFA’s Music in the Schools Month activities in March, the Concerts on the Pier series and other community partnerships have all been added to JFFA’s slate in the past five years.

“It’s a lot of work. But it’s very rewarding work,” LeMaire said.

With Field Arts & Events Hall staging concerts and other programming since it opened last July, JFFA must navigate the venue’s impact, said Oakes. She is now director of education and artist engagement at Field Hall.

Ryan Schroeder, president of the JFFA board, agreed that the organization is “in a transition phase, with Field Hall coming online. We’re really shifting our focus to the arts in the schools, and free community programming that is accessible to everybody,” possibly including another festival-type production.

Schroeder is assembling a hiring committee to include other board members as well as Karen Hanan, JFFA’s founder, and other community members.

“[We are] really just looking for that person who’s going to have passion for what we’re doing,” he said, “and figuring out where we go from here.”

________

Diane Urbani de la Paz is a freelance writer and photographer who lives in Port Townsend.

More in News

Dave Swinford of Sequim, left, and Marlana Ashlie of Victoria take part in a workshop on Saturday about cropping bird photos for best presentation during Saturday’s Olympic Birdfest. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)
Bird spotting

Dave Swinford of Sequim, left, and Marlana Ashlie of Victoria take part… Continue reading

Annette Nesse, at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s main campus in Blyn in December 2021, is serving as interim director at the Dungeness River Nature Center, the organization announced. (Emily Matthiessen/for Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Nesse to serve as interim director at River Center

New position to begin May 1; organization will continue its full-time search

Sequim Wheelers, seen on the historic Railroad Bridge near the Dungeness River Nature Center, prep for a ride on the Olympic Discovery Trail. The nonprofit's season begins in May, and it has an open house for potential new volunteers on April 20 at the River Center. It also has an orientation for new volunteers on April 25 at the River Center. (Sequim Wheelers)
Sequim Wheelers gearing up for 2024 rides, seek recruits

Nonprofit looking for help during for 20-week season

Ashlynn Emiliani of Port Angeles, center, tosses woody debris into a pile for collection as volunteers work to clean up a section of hillside above the parking lot of the Red Lion Hotel in Port Angeles on Saturday. More than a dozen members of Elevate PA spent the morning clearing up overgrown areas on the hillside from Haynes Viewpoint to the hotel’s Front Street driveway as part of a city beautification effort. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)
Hillside cleanup in Port Angeles

Ashlynn Emiliani of Port Angeles, center, tosses woody debris into a pile… Continue reading

Weekly flight operations scheduled

There will be field carrier landing practice operations for aircraft… Continue reading

Operations set at Bentinck range

The Royal Canadian Navy has announced that the land-based… Continue reading

Pictured, from left, are Wolfe, May, Reader and Emily Fry.
May recognized with BEE award from medical center

Reuben May has received a BEE award from Olympic Medical Center. The… Continue reading

Schools open following contract

PAPEA, district reach tentative agreement

Port Angeles School Superintendent Marty Brewer, second from right, speaks with members of the Port Angeles Parents for Education, on Friday about the Port Angeles Paraeducation Association strike. Assistant Superintendent Michele Olsen stands at right. (Paula Hunt/Peninsula News)
District, PAPEA to pick up bargaining Sunday

Parent group presses officials for answers on strike

Instructor Josh Taylor, left, points out the workings of an electric vehicle on Wednesday at the Auto Technology Certification Program at Peninsula College. Nick Schommer, center, and Brian Selk get ready to do some testing on the electric auto’s parts from underneath the vehicle. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula News)
College's automotive technology program gets a reboot

Students can earn a certificate separate from two-year degree

Port Townsend transportation tax dollars to be put to work

Benefits district to raise $400,000 to $600,000 in first year