For the second time in two weeks, the director of a major nonprofit institution in Athens has resigned from that position.
Effective July 1, it was Kip Parker, longtime manager of the Athens Farmers Market. This past week, effective on Wednesday, July 10, it was Jane Forrest Redfern, executive director of the Dairy Barn Arts Center.
The Dairy Barn, in a release issued late Friday afternoon, confirmed that Forrest Redfern had submitted her resignation. Redfern had confirmed the same to The Athens NEWS in a Facebook message on Thursday afternoon.
Both the Arts Center and Forrest Redfern had only positive things to say about each other in their respective statements.
“The (Dairy Barn) Board is very grateful to Jane for her service and leadership over the last seven years, and wishes her well in her new endeavors,” Richard Shultz, chair of the center’s Board of Trustees, said in Friday’s release.
The release cited its resigned director’s accomplishments during her tenure, which started in. 2012: “Forrest Redfern spearheaded the Second Century Capital Campaign, which provided the Barn with its recent facility expansion, and successfully guided the development of the Ora Anderson Trail, located behind the Barn and opened in 2018. Further, she oversaw a significant growth in the number of participants in arts education and workshop programs, reaching the greatest number ever in the Barn’s 40-year history.”
Forrest Redfern, in turn, stated, “Seven years is a long time, and it has been very rewarding, and it was just time to move on to new opportunities. I thank the donors, members, artists, friends, partners and the community for helping me make the organization more sustainable.”
In her seven years at the helm, she said that she had “worked with the best staff, members, artists, donors and partners to accomplish great things for The Dairy Barn Arts Center and the community.”
Forrest Redfern also cited as accomplishments the Ora Anderson Trail, the capital campaign and increased studio programming, along with solar panels, seasonal free music series, and working “to raise funds to establish the Quilt National Collection at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Nebraska.”
The latter, she said, will allow, Quilt National, the art form and artists to be “studied, preserved and celebrated for years to come.”
Shultz said that Joyce A. Mullins of Athens, a former board member and staff person at the Dairy Barn, has been named interim director, effective immediately.
Asked to provide further details of Forrest Redfern’s departure, Shultz said the Dairy Barn would have no further comment.
Forrest Redfern, originally from the Columbus area, formerly served as executive director of Rural Action, a membership-based nonprofit that operates a variety of environmental, economic and social-justice programs in southeast and eastern Ohio, and before that, the Ohio Public Interest Campaign (now known as Citizen Action).
Rural Action is based in The Plains, near Athens.