Patrick Neher. Courtesy photo
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
Los Alamos has the potential to be a destination for the arts and the new Los Alamos Arts Council Executive Director Patrick Neher hopes to tap into that potential to make it a reality.
Neher will officially take on the position starting July 10. His predecessor, Marlane Hamilton, will retire at the end of June. She has served as the executive director for 18 years.
Neher, who resides in Bellingham, Wash., is excited to come to Los Alamos. He explained it is his hometown.
“I’m very excited about returning home and seeing what I can do to make the arts activity really prominent in Los Alamos and Northern New Mexico,” Neher said.
He explained the arts could be a draw to tourists and as well as economic development. “I want the Los Alamos Arts Council to be the leader in promoting Los Alamos as an artistic destination,” Neher said.
Neher has made the arts a life-long career. For 28 years he was a professor of music at the University of Arizona before moving to Bellingham and venturing into business as the CEO and publisher of Imagination Services Group, which handles promotional materials for various art entities as well as audio/video, media arranging, recording and publishing.
It was his sister who alerted him to the open position at the Los Alamos Arts Council and he jumped at the opportunity to be able to work with a wide variety of arts.
“I believe all the arts are incredibly important to human existence,” he said, adding he also thinks it is important to mix science and art. “I like the mental stimulus that arts and science give.”
Neher graduated from Los Alamos High School in 1976 and his ties to the area go even further. He said his mother was involved in the Los Alamos Arts Council in the 1960s and 1970s. Returning to Los Alamos, he said, is like “closing the loop.”
Once in the position and based on what direction and guidance the arts council board gives him, Neher said he hopes to communicate with everyone in the community – from the arts council members to different stakeholders-”to really discover what are the aspirations of the community for the arts.”
He said it is important to identify what the community wants in its local arts before making any plans. Neher said the arts council already has a lot of great things going for it. He listed off the arts and crafts fairs the council hosts as well as the Pumpkin Glow, Kite Festival and senior recitals as some of the star programs the organization offers.