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‘Bringing the best the arts have to offer’: New Carroll County Arts Council director has led programs throughout U.S.

Following an extensive search process, the Carroll County Arts Council’s board of directors announced Eric Kerchner as the next executive director to to lead the arts organization, replacing Judy Morley.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, Kerchner is eager to return to the area and lead the Arts Council long term.

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“It will be my privilege to serve Carroll County by bringing the best the arts have to offer,” he said. “I am looking forward to hitting the ground running, and meeting everyone I can.”

Kerchner brings extensive experience as an executive director, leading arts centers throughout the country.

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“We are so excited to welcome Eric to the Arts Council … It feels great to know I’m turning the reins over to someone so eminently qualified,” Morley said in a news release.

In September, Kerchner will begin working alongside Morley to ensure a smooth transition before Morely departs at the end of that month. The public is invited to say farewell to Morley and meet Kerchner at the opening reception for the Arts Council’s Members Show on Sept. 30 from 5 to 7 p.m.

The Times caught up with the new director this week to learn about his experience and plans for the organization moving forward.

Carroll County Arts Council announced Eric Kerchner as the new executive director in August 2021.

Q: What makes you the right fit for the job?

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A: I bring over 15 years of experience in managing arts centers. I’m kind of like a Swiss Army knife, in the sense that I have experience in marketing, programming, fundraising and facilities management. There aren’t many situations that I have not already dealt with in my career. Combine that with a deep belief in the transformational power of the arts, and I hope to be a great fit for the Carroll County Arts Council.

Q: What is your previous experience as a director?

A: I’ve had the privilege of managing several arts centers in different parts of the country. Each organization was different, but all had both performing and visual arts programming. I believe the lessons learned there will serve me well in Carroll County.

Q: How will you ensure the Arts Council will continue to serve the community to the best of its ability?

A: CCAC has a fantastic board of directors and staff. The entire organization has been well run and is on good footing coming out of what has been a dark period for most arts organizations. I want to continue the mission of reaching all of Carroll County with the programs that are offered. I look forward to getting to know the community and making partnerships that will strengthen how the CCAC can deliver impactful programs. In my career, I have been particularly strong in bringing programs to local schools, so I look forward to connecting with teachers and administrators to make that happen.

Q: What do you look forward to most as you take over this new role?

A: Theater is my background and training, so I enjoy interacting with people to hear what they have to say. I look forward to speaking to community groups to champion the arts. I’m also looking forward to working with the outstanding staff of CCAC. They are the heart and soul of the organization, and I love the programming that they have already created.

Q: What’s one thing you want Carroll County residents to know, either about you or the organization?

A: I grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania and never envisioned that the arts would have such an impact on me. So many doors have been opened, and I hope to be able to inspire others to embrace the arts as a vehicle for everyone’s ideas and expression. We have so many issues to engage with as a community, and the arts can be the perfect platform to hold that discussion.

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