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Executive Director, Tricia Snell, Says Farewell to Caldera

Tricia Snell with Llama Caldera
Tricia Snell, Caldera’s Executive Director for the past ten years, is stepping down this spring. She said, “It is hard to leave when you are blessed with a deeply creative and supportive community like Caldera. I love Caldera and everyone in it. I’ve learned so much in the past ten years, but it’s a good time for a change. The organization is thriving and I want to focus my energies full-time on my literary life. So, ‘Occupation: Self-Employed Writer’ will be showing up on my tax returns again.” Tricia has published a mixture of fiction, nonfiction, and book reviews in past years, as well as a book, Artists Communities: A Directory of Residencies in the United States That Provide Time and Space for Creativity (Allworth Press).
“Caldera has benefited so much from Tricia’s extraordinary leadership,” commented Wes Lawrence, Managing Partner of Evensol and Co-Chair of Caldera’s Board. “She has a heart for Caldera’s kids that is felt organization-wide and all the way to the White House. We will never be the same without her, but we are a much better organization, to the benefit of our youth, because of her.”
Having just celebrated our 20th anniversary, Tricia is proud to leave the organization in a position of strength, with a solid and integral staff and board who are committed to supporting Caldera’s continued success. Over the past year, Tricia led Caldera through a comprehensive strategic planning process, as well as a year-long equity and inclusion training, which will chart a strong sustainable future for the organization.

Under her leadership, Caldera has significantly expanded and strengthened its transformational Youth Program. Highlights include: 


* Building a staff of 20 full-time, highly skilled mentors and administrators who provide Portland and Central Oregon youth with year-round, long-term mentoring and support.


* Integrating an environmental curriculum into Caldera’s arts curriculum, supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and showcased under the Geography of We on our website here.


* Increasing the scope of our Artists in Residence program and integrating it with our Youth Program so that it nurtures both professional artists and Caldera youth.


* With the help of donors, staff, and board, increasing Caldera’s budget from $1.2M to $2.4M and establishing an endowment to support Caldera’s beautiful Arts Center in perpetuity (ensuring that all donations support Caldera’s Youth Program).


* Securing national support for Caldera, including winning a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. That award recognizes Caldera as one of the top youth arts programs in the nation. Tricia travelled to the White House with Caldera youth Alena Nore in 2015 to receive the award from First Lady Michelle Obama.

“We are sorry to see her go,” said Dan Wieden, Founder of both Wieden+Kennedy advertising agency and Caldera, and Co-Chair of Caldera’s Board of Directors, “but the people you and I respect the most are often those who eventually need to continue to grow and change the world in amazing new ways. Tricia Snell is that unique character—drop dead smart, addicted to laughing, workaholic. She has altered the lives of about 1,500 underserved youth and stretched the expectations of many other people in Caldera’s community too.”
Caldera’s Board of Directors will launch a national search to find the next Executive Director.  The full job description is posted on our website here and we’re currently accepting applications until February 28.  Tricia will continue to lead Caldera throughout the search and will oversee the transfer of responsibilities. 
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