Tim Smith knows he made the right decision three years ago when he took a job as the office manager at the Murfreesboro Center for the Arts.
At the time, Smith was working full time in property management and spending his spare time working as the music director at Nashville’s Trinity Lutheran Church.
“I was ready to leave property management ...” said Smith who was named recently the new executive director of the Center for the Arts. “I felt like I wasn’t making a difference.”
Smith, who lives in Murfreesboro, had performed in a few productions at the Center for the Arts. He told former director Tony Cimino to let him know if any jobs came open. Luckily for Smith, it didn’t take long for Cimino to call.
“It’s interesting to see that things do happen for a reason,” Smith said. He added even though he made less than his previous job, he just couldn’t turn down the job.
“At the time, I felt like it was the right thing for me to do.”
Now he knows for sure.
At the beginning of August, the center’s board of directors announced it had chosen Smith to take Cimino’s place in the director’s chair.
When Cimino announced his departure in April, Smith was named as interim director. Cimino left the post he had held since 2009 to return to his home state and work with the newly created Louisiana Health Co-Operative.
With the opening, the board of directors commenced a national search for a new director. And like so many other times, the search led back to Murfreesboro.
“The executive committee vetted more than 80 applicants from all over the country,” Chairman of the Board of Directors David LaRoche explained.
LaRoche explained the right executive director needed the right mix of skills: to be able to maintain a century-old historic building, manage a nonprofit, produce quality plays and continue the job Cimino began.
“After the search was over, the right person was Tim,” LaRoche said.
Smith said his main objective is to continue to produce quality plays and musicals for Rutherford County, like Cimino.
“I want to build on that,” Smith said about the years Cimino spent building the reputation of the Center for the Arts.
His quest begins officially with finalizing the schedule for the 2014 season, which will include more dinner theater and plays. He also wants to emphasize the art gallery and offer art classes.
“I want to build the education piece,” Smith said. He explained the Center is open daily, but the space isn’t being used.
“I want to utilize that time to offer classes,” he said.
Smith wants to add a Gallery Series, which will stage plays, to compliment the traditional musicals of the Center Stage Series.
“Part of the reason for that is that we have many great actors in town, but not all of them are musicians. This will give them more opportunities,” Smith said, adding it will also offer more opportunities for the audience. Which is one thing the board of directors wants from the new executive director.
“I definitely think the Center for the Arts is the best kept secret in Murfreesboro,” LaRoche said.
Smith wants to let the secret out with his first production as executive director.
“Our next production is ‘Putting it Together,’” Smith said. “Putting it Together” is a musical revue showcasing the songs of Stephen Sondheim and will open in September.
“We are excited,” LaRoche said. “Tim has some great ideas. He’s the new face of the Center …
“I wasn't happy when our executive director left and Tim stepped in and did his best,” he continued. “I feel really good that we got so many applicants and still picked him.”