The Vive Les Arts Theatre is photographed Thursday, July 6, 2017, at 3401 S. W.S. Young Drive in Killeen. The theatre is expected to be closed by Aug. 31, 2017.

Eric J. Shelton | Herald

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.

(2) comments

JohnnyinHarkerHeights

It sounds like the board members who resigned are offended that a few of the remaining board members and chairperson decided to try and keep the place open despite their wishes to end it entirely.

Instead of having a pointless hissy fit about following the bylaws in a vain attempt to make it seem like they were in the right, they should have quite right after deciding the place was no longer viable.

If they had done that instead of holding a vote to close the place, the remaining members could have tried from the very beginning to keep the place open instead of wasting time trying to mollify those who just wanted the placed closed, because they didn't want to be bothered anymore.

Alvin
Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
So the VLA Arts board unanimously quit in protest huh. What were they protesting, the fact that Chairwoman Summer Heidtbrink called them out on this move???? If I remember correctly, a previous article had said,
Copy: 'The board is currently putting together facts and figures, which Heidtbrink hopes will provide a better understanding for the decision and dispel any rumors. End of copy.
Have they in their submission of resignation submitted the final facts and figures amounting to a tantalization of the books for the VLA Arts program???? That would be good since they are 'quitting'. It would be good if the board would show where the personnel of the present board would indicate 'just where this board finds it necessary to call it quits and shutter this VLA Arts program that has been in existence for the past 31 years. Sounds like a temper tantrum to me. Just like this city, they don't want anyone to know how they came to this conclusion.
It seems strange to me that a town like Temple can maintain a thriving performing arts program, a town that has approximately 72,000 population, and why a town like Waco that has a population of approximately 132,000 can maintain a performing arts program, but Killeen, Texas, with a growing population of in excess of 140,000 cannot. What are these two city's doing to support such a venture when Killee cannot????

Copy: “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.” End of copy.

Where in the world did they go wrong???? Was it directorship, or level of experience, or????

Copy: “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.'

Continuation of copy: “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.'

Continuation of copy: “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.” End of copy.

Who was these presentations directed towards, the city council, the general public, the cast because it is my personal opinion that if the city council was aware of this forfeiture, should be a cause for alarm.

Copy: 'It was started in 1976 and supported by funds from the city of Killeen arts Commission and a grant from the Texas Commission on the arts. Now I remind you, this was a grant to help start this theater, not an on going means to supply the funds indefinitely so this theater is supposed to stand on it's own feet, but Killeen has guaranteed by the earlier vote to help support this venture. Now I would like to know, how much support is giving this theater? Apparently not enough to keep the doors open. Why is this more important than 'opening a street to the new housing development being constructed in the South end'. In this case I support the VIVA Les Arts Performing theater in all aspects. City council, do your duty to make this theater a continuing part of the life of Killeen.' End of copy.

As is stated herein the council has a stake I this the performing arts. Why can other cities make a go of it, but Killeen can't???? Where did the city of Killeen go from a support of this feature to a grant of this feature and if it is dropped to on a grant basis, where is this grant, ow much is this grant, and if has stopped supporting the performing arts I would question 'WHY' has it been stopped.
Has it gone the way of the swimming pools, dropped for another more important feature????

This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

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