SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The South Orange Performing Arts Center has let go of its executive director less than a year after his hire. 

SOPAC, a non-profit arts organization, made the announcement in a press release that said it is due to "budgetary cutbacks brought on by Covid-19."

Paul Bartick, Chairman of the Board of Governors, "regretfully announces a change in executive leadership at the South Orange Performing Arts Center," the release said. "Craig Sumberg was relieved of his duties as Executive Director at SOPAC last week."

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Sumberg began his tenure at SOPAC in January of this year but by mid-March the pandemic caused entertainment venues locally and across the nation to close their doors, resulting in a devastating loss of revenue. 

“We are sorry to see Craig go,” stated Chairman Bartick. “We wish him all the very best as he pursues new opportunities, and we are grateful for the steady presence he brought to SOPAC as we faced the impact of the epidemic.”

SOPAC’s Director of External Relations Dee Billia has been named Acting Executive Director, a position she held for 7 months in 2019 as well.  "Billia has a long history in the New Jersey arts industry, and has held positions at the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and Appel Farm Arts and Music Center. She is a chairperson for the Jersey Arts Marketers association and has been at SOPAC for seven years," said the release.

SOPAC relayed that its Board of Governors will start a search for a new executive director "once the landscape of performing arts organizations becomes more favorable for robust programming and return of audiences to live events."

 

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