Leadership at the Kentuck Art Center and Festival will soon have a new face - sort of - as longtime executive director Amy Echols takes on a new role there.

Echols told the organization's Board of Directors earlier this year that she was ready to pass the reins after leading Kentuck for the last decade - Echols was first hired in 2013 following a long term as a board member.

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The Kentuck board voted in late October to promote Deputy Director Exa Skinner to step into the role effective January 1st. Skinner is no stranger to the organization - she has worked there for nearly a decade as a program manager, director of operations and deputy director.

Echols will transition to a role as Advisor for Arts and Strategic Growth.

As executive director, Skinner will oversee year-round programming at the Art Center in downtown Northport and organize the annual Kentuck Festival of the Arts, traditionally held each October.

“The promotion of Mrs. Skinner to Executive Director has been my vision for a while, and fortunately for Kentuck, she is embracing the challenge,” said Echols. “Her passion, dedication, excellent business acumen, and leadership abilities to fulfill our mission and vision for the betterment of our community will ensure that Kentuck will continue to reach new heights of success.”

Also promoted were Ashley Williams and Molly Nelko, whose titles will be Director of Marketing and Communications and Program Manager respectively.

“As part of Kentuck’s strategic growth and succession plan, Mrs. Skinner has been a part of our board meetings for the last two years and has taken on even greater leadership roles within the organization,” said Bobby Bragg, Kentuck Art Center’s board president. “She has been instrumental in the Arts Center getting substantial grants for our outreach of arts to the children and adults of the community.”

Skinner said after eight years in the organization, she can't wait to be at its helm.

“I am excited to lead such a dynamic organization that perpetuates the arts,” said Skinner. “It’s also great to recognize the contributions of my colleagues Ashley and Molly to Kentuck, as well as their increasing responsibilities in leadership.”

For more from Kentuck and other organizations across West Alabama, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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Gallery Credit: (Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)

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