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Tom Clinton is joining the Grand Rapids Community Media Center (CMC) team next month as its new Executive Director.
An attorney turned artist, Clinton was a partner at Varnum LLP before returning to school to pursue a bachelor’s in fine arts in printmaking at Kendall College of Art and Design. In 2010, Clinton teamed with Kendall professor Paul Amenta to form SiTE:LAB, an all-volunteer nonprofit that organizes temporary art projects in vacant buildings and other underutilized spaces. Its locations have included the Junior Achievement and Harris buildings downtown on Division, 54 Jefferson, formerly home to the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and Blandford Nature Center. SiTE:LAB has twice received the ArtPrize juried award for outstanding venue.
In his capacity as SiTE:LAB exhibition coordinator, Clinton handles legal, financial and administrative matters.
“Tom’s legal training and experience give him an understanding of the financial, contractual and organizational issues that all nonprofits face,” CMC Board of Directors President Janay Brower says. “And his background with SiTE:LAB demonstrates a collaborative approach that is a great match for the CMC.”
Founded in 1980 as the Grand Rapids Cable Access Center, the CMC was originally focused around public access television station GRTV. Since that time its media platforms have grown to include community radio station WYCE, the Wealthy Theatre, and The Rapidian, an online hyperlocal news source providing a platform for citizen journalism for local residents. The CMC also provides IT and media production services to nonprofits, and offers an extensive education program in media literacy and production.
Clinton is the third executive director in the organization’s history.
“What is exciting about this opportunity is how much the CMC and SiTE:LAB share in terms of their mission and approach,” Clinton says. “SiTE:LAB was founded to give emerging artists and art students opportunities and experience in exhibiting their work. And the CMC’s mission involves giving a broader range of people access to the tools and technology needed to share their ideas and creations with the community.”
Former Executive Director Laurie Cirivello resigned in October 2013 to accept a new role with Priority Health. Directors attained the services of a human resources consultant to assist in a nationwide search, focusing on the community media industry and other complementary fields. Interim Director Kayem Dunn managed the daily logistics for the CMC during the search, and continues to assist in the transition to new leadership.
It is anticipated that Clinton will start in his new position in early May.
The Rapidian is a citizen journalism project designed to increase the flow of local news and information in the Grand Rapids community and its neighborhoods. We work to empower neighborhood residents to report the news from the inside out. The Rapidian provides tools, training, platforms and support to become more than just content consumers but content providers as well.