Amy Nesbitt briefly served as Director of Performing Arts for Scottsdale Arts.
Amy Nesbitt briefly served as Director of Performing Arts for Scottsdale Arts.
Myra Klarman

Amy Nesbitt Is the Latest Director to Leave Scottsdale Arts

After serving as director of performing arts for about two months, Amy Nesbitt resigned, citing personal reasons. She joined Scottsdale Arts in August 2017 and resigned the following month.

She's the fifth person to leave a directorship at Scottsdale Arts, which oversees Scottsdale's public art, performing arts center, and contemporary art museum, since 2015.

"I resigned as Director of Performing Arts on 9/27/17 as I felt the need to devote my full attention to personal matters," Nesbitt told Phoenix New Times by email on Friday, October 22. Nesbitt declined to elaborate further, and suggested we contact Stephen Baker, director of marketing and communications for Scottsdale Arts, with our questions.

It's not unusual for arts administrators to sign non-disclosure agreements when they separate from organizations, or to be discreet in discussing previous employers, which may explain her brief response.

On Tuesday, November 14, Baker confirmed by email that Nesbitt served as director of performing arts for a 10-week period, between August 1 and October 6. "We valued her ideas and contributions to the organization and her leadership of the performing arts team during the time she was with us," he wrote.

Abbey Messmer is currently serving as interim director.

Nesbitt's departure coincided with the announcement that Scottsdale Arts CEO Neale Perl had resigned. Perl joined Scottsdale Arts in August 2014.

These are just the latest in a long list of departures at Scottsdale Arts. The nonprofit is contracted by the city of Scottsdale to manage Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and Scottsdale Public Art.

All three organizations underwent significant change during Perl’s tenure.

Cory Baker, who joined Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts as director in 2010, left in June 2015. Ally Haynes-Hamblen served as interim director, then director for a time. Amy Nesbitt came on board in August 2017, but was already gone by early October. Abbey Messmer now serves as both programming manager and interim director for Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

After serving for six years as director for Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Tim Rodgers stepped down in May 2015. Sara Cochran became interim director, and was promoted to director and chief curator in January 2016.

Donna Isaac retired as director of Scottsdale Public Art in June 2017. Scottsdale Arts hired Kim Curry-Evans for that position, and she started in early September.

Two important roles at Scottsdale Arts are currently filled by interim leaders. Scottsdale Arts board member Mike Miller is serving as interim CEO for Scottsdale Arts, and Natalie Marsh is serving as interim chief operating officer.

Despite the many changes, Miller says he’s confident about Scottsdale Arts’ future. “The organization continues to move along, and we have strong people inside the organization.”

Currently the position of director for performing arts is posted on the Scottsdale Arts website. The posting says the salary will be "commensurate with experience."

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