Nine days after voting to close Vive Les Arts, several members of the Killeen theater’s board of directors resigned Friday.
The board members took aim at Chairwoman Summer Heidtbrink, saying she is violating bylaws and her role of chairwoman, and they “will not support her defiance of the board’s direction.”
In a Thursday Herald story, Heidtbrink said she is fighting to keep the performing arts center open and asked the public not to harbor ill will to unnamed board members who voted to close the theater, which has been in operation for 40 years. Heidtbrink could not be reached Friday for comment on the board’s letter.
In the letter emailed to several news organizations at 7:05 p.m. Friday, board members described their decision to close the theater at 3401 S. W.S. Young Drive.
“For many years, we have worked to make the Theatre a successful enterprise. Despite our efforts to reduce expenses and increase revenue, we have seen a steady decline in support in both donation and attendance over multiple seasons. This is a sad reality that the executive committee and board have been aware of and have tried to reverse.”
The letter was signed by Vice Chairman Nancy Hennigan, Vice Chairman Diane Connell, Advisory Committee Chairman Cyd West, Treasurers Scott Shine and Hilary Shine, and Past Chairs Leslie and John Gilmore.
“The executive committee met twice in June to review the finances and options. Seven of nine members believed that the Theatre could not commit to a new season because of the financial situation and voted that it should close gracefully at the end of the current season,” the board members said.
“The executive committee’s recommendation was presented to the full board July 5. No alternative plans or proposals were presented. The full board voted by simple majority, in accordance with our bylaws, that the executive committee’s recommendation be accepted and that we should proceed towards closure August 31, 2017.”
“Our sincere hope is that the Theatre’s more than 40 years of bringing arts to Killeen can be honored and celebrated. If this is not its final curtain, we hope that Vive Les Arts will find its audience and that the show will go on,” the board members said.
“We are proud to have been part of Vive Les Arts Societe as members of the executive committee, the board of directors, season ticket holders, donors, fundraisers and advocates. It is with great sadness that we have resigned our seats.”
The resignation letter did not include the names of Heidtbrink or her husband Bary Heidtbrink, also a board member, and also did not include George and Stacie Dishon, Jennifer Sullivan, or Bill Kozlik, the remaining members.
For more about the Vive Les Arts challenges, see Sunday’s Herald.