British Columbia

Vancouver arts leaders concerned about sudden departure of managing cultural director

The City of Vancouver says Richard Newirth is no longer employed by the city because of "organizational changes."

Richard Newirth had worked for the City of Vancouver since 2007

Richard Newirth served as the City of Vancouver's managing cultural director since 2010. (Richard Newirth/Facebook)

Leaders in Vancouver's arts community say they're concerned following the sudden departure of the city's managing director of cultural services. 

The City of Vancouver says Richard Newirth is no longer employed by the city because of "organizational changes."

"I am, of course, concerned about the impact this unexpected change will have on the arts and cultural sector in the city," said Donna Spencer, chair of the city's arts and culture policy council and artistic producer of the Firehall Arts Centre.

"I believe Rich cares deeply about the arts and its value to the community."

The city shared few details about Newirth's departure, but thanked him for his work and emphasized the continued importance of the arts in Vancouver.

"Art and Culture are critical elements of a high functioning and healthy city, and the city will continue to move forward with its plans to elevate and emphasize art and culture."

According to the Alliance for Arts and Culture, Newirth had been the head of cultural services since 2010.

Prior to that, he had been the city's director of public art, planning and facilities development since 2007 and had led cultural affairs at the San Francisco Arts Commission for 12 years before that. 

The city says Newirth reported to the city's general manager of community services, Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas, who started in her role in the spring. 

A new city manager, Sadhu Johnston, was selected in March after he had been in the role in an acting capacity since September 2015. 

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