[C]ockermouth’s Kate Parry, a leading figure in Cumbria’s arts and culture sector, is stepping down as Chief Executive of Kirkgate Arts to take up a new part-time post managing the Cumbria Museums Consortium. Mrs Parry will be based at Dove Cottage in Grasmere and will work with Tullie House in Carlisle, the Wordsworth Trust and Lakeland Arts. “I’m really happy to be taking on a new role in the museum world – it’s what I trained to do,” said Mrs Parry.
“But I’ll be really sad to leave Kirkgate Arts. I consider myself so lucky to have worked here for the last ten years and I’ve loved it. I’ve had the chance to meet some wonderful people – performers, volunteers, staff, trustees and customers – and had tremendous fun! I believe passionately in the importance of the Kirkgate Centre for Cockermouth – it’s vital that local people continue to support it. I’m really proud of everything we’ve achieved, including laying the groundwork for exciting plans for the future. I feel absolutely certain that I’m leaving it in really good hands.”
Marion Bowman, Chair of Kirkgate Arts, said: “Kate has given her all to the Kirkgate and we wish her well in her new position. Happily, she’ll carry on with us regularly as a consultant to help with our strategic development plans. Her knowledge and experience are invaluable.”
Ms Bowman recently took over as Chair of the charity when her predecessor Dr Anna Clark completed her term of office. Dr Clark is staying on the Board of Kirkgate Arts. “We are moving to a new phase in the history of Kirkgate Arts,” said Ms Bowman. “The financial climate is very tough but we have a great team of staff and volunteers and an exciting capital development project with a strong vision for the future. Our arts programme both at the Kirkgate Centre and in West Cumbria’s village halls through Arts Out West gets better all the time and we are a vital hub for community activities and keeping the heritage of Cockermouth alive.”
To manage the transition, Ms Bowman, a retired television executive who was born in Maryport and attended Cockermouth Grammar School, will act as unpaid executive chair in keeping with the charity’s strong commitment to volunteering.