1708 Begins Director Search 

Now that Peter Calvert has decided to step down as executive director of the 26-year-old 1708 Gallery, the nonprofit is beginning its search for a replacement.

Calvert's recent resignation came as a "complete surprise," says Gordon Stettinius, president of the gallery's board of directors. He declined to elaborate on the reasons for Calvert's departure other than to say, "He's got some very legitimate reasons for leaving."

Calvert's resignation becomes effective June 24. An artist himself, Calvert says he and his wife are happy in Richmond and hope to stay in town. "We're really hopeful that we can keep contributing to the Richmond community," he says, adding that he has some job leads he can't talk about.

Stettinius says Calvert has "been a very good thing" for 1708, and "we have big shoes to fill."

Sally Bowring, a former director and current emeritus member of 1708's board, says the gallery "may be ready for a visionary. Peter was more of a manager, but I don't think it's possible to have both in the same body." Bowring adds that while 1708 sold more work during Calvert's tenure, that's not the only measure of success for a nonprofit gallery. "I'd like to see them take a lot more chances."

The gallery's search committee is looking for someone with arts administration, gallery and nonprofit experience, Stettinius says. "We really need someone who has some sort of social fluency, someone who can chat with high school students, gallery patrons, someone who can handle the bureaucracy and not rule from their desk."

The gallery's 2005-2006 season is scheduled and will start in September; the board hopes to have someone in place by the fall. — Carrie Nieman

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