For Immediate Release
Date: May 2, 2023
LEADERSHIP TRANSITION COMING TO KICKING HORSE CULTURE
Golden, BC – Kicking Horse Culture, the Town of Golden and the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) announce that Bill Usher, the long-term Executive and Artistic Director for Kicking Horse Culture will be retiring, once a suitable successor has been found. This follows a planned transition process ensuring Kicking Horse Culture’s programs and services continue without interruption for the citizens of Golden. Usher will remain throughout the transition in his current capacity, after which the three-time Juno winner has hinted at his eventual return to performing.
During Usher’s tenure Kicking Horse Culture has grown from a small community arts council with 35 members and a budget of $50,000 to a vibrant arts presenter with over 700 members and an annual budget of $600,000. Two arts facilities – the Art Gallery of Golden and the $3.3 million restoration of the Golden Civic Centre as Golden’s dedicated performing arts centre – were also realized.
Bill’s vision to grow and develop the arts council’s programming nearly 20 years ago was well received by the Town of Golden and the CSRD, sharing a vision that local governments and arts organizations are critical partners in supporting the cultural fabric of a community. This collaborative effort continues to be an example across the country and a testament to the power of an organization like Kicking Horse Culture under visionary leadership, to engage and enrich the lives of our citizens.
“I want to express our sincere gratitude to Bill for his commitment to exposing the Golden community to arts and culture, showcasing the incredible local artists we have here in town and artists from far and wide,” said Mayor of Golden, Ron Oszust. “Our town has been forever changed for the better because of him, and we remain committed to supporting arts and culture as an important part of what makes Golden a great place to live and visit.”
“Bill’s commitment to the development and sustainability of the arts and culture of our Golden and Area ‘A’ community has been the envy of other communities,” said Area A Director, Karen Cathcart. “I would like to thank Bill for positioning the Golden and Area A community as leaders in culture and the arts and leaving a legacy for what’s to come! Thank you, Bill, for your work and efforts over the years.”
“Pete Seeger’s elder advice to me backstage at the Mariposa Folk Festival in the mid- 70s, was my north star growing older,” says Usher. Pete told me, ‘You don’t find community. You make community.’ So simple yet so powerful. So, these past 20 plus years making home in Golden, I’ve been welcomed and supported by a community of folks who trusted me to do what I love to do … bring artist together with audiences. Doesn’t get better than that.”
A Succession Committee has been formed with representatives from Kicking Horse Culture’s board of directors and community members, chaired by longtime local supporter of the arts, Glen Ewan. Kicking Horse Culture developed a succession plan in 2017 and it will provide the roadmap for the work, which is anticipated to take eight to twelve months.
“I have enjoyed working with Bill these past 20 years and look forward to helping carry on his legacy,” said Glen Ewan. “I invite the public to contribute to the search for the next generation of arts community leaders and in particular to contact me with any thoughts or suggestions. “
Director of Corporate Services & Communications
Town of Golden
250-344-2271 ext. 235
Succession Plan Coordinator – Lori Baxter Consulting