Cory Baker Leaves Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Directorship; Ally Haynes-Hamblen Named Interim Director

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Cory Baker left her position as director of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on June 3.

Scottsdale Cultural Council public relations manager Bill Thompson confirmed the news in a June 5 e-mail to New Times. The Scottsdale Cultural Council oversees Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and Scottsdale Public Art.

The circumstances surrounding Baker's departure are unclear. She started working for the Scottsdale Cultural Council in 2000 as audience development coordinator and was hired as director of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in 2010.

"We are grateful for Cory’s many contributions during her time with the organization and wish her great success in whatever the future may hold," Thompson says in an e-mail. "Beyond that, and because this is a personnel matter, it is not appropriate or lawful for us to make any further comment."

Baker has not responded to a request for comment.

This is the second high-level departure that Scottsdale's Cultural Council has seen in the past couple months.

In May, SMoCA director Tim Rodgers resigned, following an April announcement from Scottsdale Cultural Council president and CEO Neale Perl (who was hired as president in August 2014)  that the three arts organizations would be restructured in 2015. Perl's plans include relocating senior staffers' offices to the same building as the Council's administrative headquarters.

However, rumors were circulating that Perl was looking to eliminate the directorship positions at each of the three organizations as part of the restructuring. 

In an April interview with New Times, when asked if high-level staffers would be let go this summer, Perl said, "We're not looking to eliminate any positions." He also said that the rumors were strange.

A June 5 press release from Scottsdale Cultural Council announced that Ally Haynes-Hamblen will serve as the interim director of SCPA starting immediately. Haynes-Hamblen has served as SCPA's assistant director since 2010.

"At this time we do not plan a national search for a permanent director because we believe we have the talent, experience and expertise internally, and it begins with Ally," Thompson says. "We expect a smooth transition through this interim period."

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