By Michele RobertsonChanges are on the horizon in the new year for the arts and culture scene here in Carlsbad. Carlsbad MainStreet and the Pearl of the Pecos Arts & Culture District will combine their separate executive director positions into onewith the departure of Ashly Key, current executive director for Carlsbad MainStreet. Kat Davis, executive director for the Pearl of the Pecos Arts & Culture District will merge into the role of Carlsbad MainStreet Arts & Cultural executive director. “Ashly did an incredible job as executive director of Carlsbad MainStreet. We are very sad to see her go but are so fortunate to have Kat stepping into the role as dual directors. It just made sense to combine the positions and with Kat already doing such a great job as the POP director, we have full confidence that she will pick right up where Ashly left off,” shared Jason Shirley, Carlsbad MainStreet board President. The transition will be in full effect the first of 2022. “It is with sadness I write to inform you that I will be stepping down as the Carlsbad MainStreet Executive Director due to my family relocating out of state. I have thoroughly enjoyed working alongside the City of Carlsbad, Eddy County, and district businesses. My time with Carlsbad MainStreet and this great city has been such a blessing and I am so thankful for the support that I have received during my employment and years in Carlsbad. I would like to say thank you to the Carlsbad community for embracing me in this position with open arms,” Key shared in an announcement from Carlsbad MainStreet. “We are excited to announce that Kathleen Davis will be assuming the role of Carlsbad MainStreet Arts & Culture District Executive Director. She is an amazing lady and has done so many fantastic things in our downtown. We look forward to the future and watching the growth and energy she continues to bring to the district in this role!”Key and Davis worked hand in hand over the past year creating dynamic spaces for local, cultural, and economic opportunities for downtown businesses and Carlsbad residents and visitors. The Carlsbad Downtown Farmers & Makers Market took on a new look and feel this year. Third Thursday was a popular event filling downtown Carlsbad every Thursday evening with residents and tourists all out shopping with local artisans and farmers, dining from local food trucks, and listening to live music. As covid protocols adapted events were able to happen again around the community. A successful Electric Light Parade and Small Business Saturday event along with the move of the Firefighters Combat Challenge to downtown bode well for a successful upcoming year and future for the downtown districts. “Prioritizing and delegating, wrapping up Arts & Culture designation logistics, and establishing a timeline for state designation are on the priority list,” Davis shared in reference to her first few months in the combined role.
With the merger comes the addition of an assistant director position, which Davis hopes will be filled before Key leaves on December 30th. Logistics and practicality seem to be what fueled the combination of executive director positions. “I think the merger of the two positions will be very beneficial as many of the conversations being had regarding economic development are in line with the arts and culture here not only in Carlsbad, but really all communities. The two goals of the director positions go hand in hand, and this combination of duties makes things that much simpler. Arts and culture directly affect economic development and vice versa. Our businesses set the feel for our downtown/ACD district. With Ms. Davis taking the two on, I really see a lot of potential growth for this area,” shared Mary Garwood, board member for both Carlsbad MainStreetand the Pearl of the Pecos Steering Committee. Events to look forward to in 2022 are the return of CavernFest and the Carlsbad Downtown Farmers & Makers Market, including the Third Thursday events. The Electric Light Parade theme for 2022 will be How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Expect to see your favorite downtown events and more on the horizon in the heart of our fair city. Downtown Carlsbad boasts many titles, the Carlsbad MainStreet District, The Pearl of the Pecos Arts & Culture District, and the Carlsbad Downtown Historic District. Each of these plays a significant role in the vitality of our downtown.