Center for the Arts to hold retirement party for outgoing director

Jessica Klarp
Special to Black Mountain News

The community is invited to help celebrate the retirement of Black Mountain Center for the Arts executive director Gale Jackson.

A festive gathering will be held from 6 - 8:30 p.m. on Friday, May 31, to honor her 20-year service supporting and promoting the arts in Black Mountain and throughout the region. Former board members, teachers, performers, artists, volunteers, students and the many community members who are donors and ticket buyers are all invited.

The celebration will include a social gathering starting at 6 p.m. with light hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine on the upper level followed by a tribute in the theatre space downstairs at 7:30 .pm.

Members of the community who have been involved with Jackson, and the Arts Center over the years, are invited to stop by to the send-off starting at 7:30 p.m. If you want to be included in the onstage tribute, please contact the Arts Center’s new Program Coordinator Marylee Rorick or Events Coordinator Jessica Klarp by emailing

Jackson has overseen the Arts Center as thousands have participated in the hundreds of programs, classes and special events over the years. Her guidance, spirit of inclusion and integrity, have contributed to the artistic and cultural texture of Black Mountain, providing opportunities for enrichment and learning for the past 20 years.

Swannanoa Valley children have grown up in the Arts Center taking Kindermusic classes back in the early aughts, learned an instrument in the Junior Appalachian Musician’s (JAM) program as they got a little older, taken after-school drawing classes or dance and are now old enough to bring their own children by to see the Arts Center or to sign them up for classes.

Hundreds of artists have been able to hone their craft by taking classes, or put their work on display in the gallery, or teach others what they know through workshops or classes.

The musicians who have graced the Arts Center stage range from homegrown to nationally recognized and Grammy winning.

Jackson’s commitment to preserving our mountain’s rich cultural heritage resulted in the Way Back When theater series, Black Mountain College displays and the JAM program and the transformation and repurposing of the old City Hall into the Arts Center.

Please come by and join the celebration. For more information to RSVP or sign up for a tribute call 828-669-0930 or email