Changes are coming

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The Art Center at Fuller Lodge is getting new management

By Carol A. Clark

Los Alamos County has awarded the management contract for The Art Center at Fuller Lodge to Village Arts.


Longtime Los Alamos residents Ken Nebel and Jim O’Donnell purchased Village Arts several months ago. They will take over management of the Art Center July 1.

“We received two good bids and have awarded the contract to Village Arts,” Community Services Director Stephani Johnson said during an interview Tuesday.

The current contract expires June 30 and Village Arts will assume management of that contract the following day, she said.

Current Art Center Executive Director John Werenko said Tuesday morning that he had not been contacted about the award so he had no comment. He could not be reached this morning.

A board meeting took place at the Art Center Tuesday and early in the evening Board Chair Norman Worth discussed the news as he was returning to the boardroom with a bag of McDonald’s.

He confirmed that Johnson had contacted a board member to relay the fact that the contract had been awarded to another entity.

“We received a telephone call from Stephani and we’re looking into the situation,” Worth said.

Nebel explained that the intent is to operate the Art Center completely separate from Village Arts and to run it as a balanced budget for the community and not as a money-making operation.

“We’re very excited about this and plan to hold a public meeting soon to make sure the public understands what’s going on and to get their input as well,” Nebel said. “I have lots of ideas and I want to be really open with the community and I hope the current Art Center membership will attend the public meeting.”

The meeting will be announced following the official contract signing, which is anticipated to take place in a week or so, he said.

The contract involves a direct payment of about $20,000 and indirect value of about $155,000. The smaller amount is for managing the Art Center. The larger amount is for in-kind services such as use of the county-owned facility adjacent to Fuller Lodge including utilities and maintenance costs.

The Art Center at Fuller Lodge garnered a lot of unflattering attention in recent months. Former Board Chair Phil Kilgour plead guilty in August to disorderly conduct.

Police initially charged Kilgour with assault after he became enraged at a May board meeting, stood up and flipped a large table over, barely missing the board secretary.

In the ensuing melee, Kilgour broke his glasses and crushed his cough drops, according to on-scene witnesses.

In an interview after he was charged with assault, Kilgour suggested he lost control of his temper because he had a sinus infection, was taking antihistamines, had a cough and was taking cough drops.

Kilgour resigned from the board in June.