"It was almost like looking into a crystal ball."
Whitehurst has yet to be replaced. The selection process for the position continues, with a goal of hiring a new director this spring.

The Phoenix Arts Commission has accomplished much more than even its foresighted creators envisioned.

An ambitious arts-in-the-schools program has given some 90,000 schoolkids direct exposure to professional artists. A program was launched to encourage businesses to spend on the arts. The commission's grants program has provided cash and marketing help to hundreds of arts groups of all sizes. Dedicated and hardworking staffers remain in place in those sections of the arts commission. But the public-arts staff is now gazing into the future of other locales.

Almost fortuitously, recurring natural disasters around the country (hurricanes, river floods, earthquakes, etc.) have provided for lots of infrastructure-rebuilding opportunities. The departed arts commission staffers who made their reputation on a garbage-transfer building, under a freeway overpass--and, yes, while tossing some oversize pots--are in great demand as consultants and guest speakers around the country.

"I'm disappointed and saddened that something really good has been deflated," says Terry Goddard. "But we've done a blueprint. We've written the plan. And it's a plan that worked.

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