CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Ryan Tolley was named the executive director of the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center Wednesday, putting the city one step closer to the theater’s opening.
“It’s exciting now because now you’re going to start hearing who’s being booked and when they’re going to be booked. It’s just exciting because it’s all starting to come together,” Mayor Cathy Goings said.
Goings said the city of Clarksburg first began its search for an executive director in 2016 and received over 30 applications for the position.
“Our goal was to try to get someone on as soon as possible, so that they could also be involved in the construction phase,” she said. “But we didn’t want to rush into it because we needed to make sure that we got the right person for the position because when you’re making a $15 million investment, you want to make sure that the person is highly qualified and managing a venue such as the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center.”
Tolley is a native of Bridgeport and a 2007 graduate of Bridgeport High School. Most recently, he served in a variety of roles with Palm Beach Staging and Production, a 5-diamond luxury resort in Florida.
“I just think he’ll be a good fit because he has a lot of experience,” Goings said. “He attended Full Sail University and obtained an associate of science degree in show production, then got a bachelor of science in music business and then a masters in entertainment business.”
With work continuing on both the interior and exterior of the building, Goings said they are still on target for an early spring 2018 opening.
“There’s a lot of work that’s being done on the adjacent properties that we purchased and then we did a demolition,” she said.
Goings said has received calls from residents concerned that crews were painting over the front arch features, but she assures that all historic features of the structure will be kept intact.
“What they’re actually doing is, that’s a protective coating because they’re going to use acid to clean the bricks,” she said. “By putting that whitewash on it, it protects the architectural features.”