Alabama Contemporary Art Center’s board of directors has tapped current director of exhibitions and programs Amanda Solley-Wilson as its new executive director. The position has been vacant since Bob Sain resigned in December 2015.

Solley-Wilson has been a key player in ACAC’s recent focus on Cuba and its artists. The current exhibit, “Back to Havana,” will be in place through June 1.

“The arts are a community asset that can bring people together and provide them with a voice. This year and next we join organizations across the state in celebrating our bicentennial by recognizing our collective stories and writing new ones,” Solley-Wilson said in the statement.

The board also noted Julie H. Friedman of the Alabama State Council on the Arts was voted to the position of board vice chair. The press release also noted the return of cultural force majeure Ann Bedsole to the board.


Kennedy bows out at ballet

On Feb. 7, Mobile Ballet Managing and Development Director Karen Kennedy tendered her resignation from the dance group. She told Lagniappe on March 1 it was a six-week resignation “to allow for a smooth transition.”

“It was a good time for me and for the ballet, for that transition. The board has asked me to stay on as a volunteer and continue my involvement, so I look forward to it,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said she had served as managing and development director since May 2012.

She had no insight for a timetable in finding her successor. Kennedy noted other transitions, as previous board chair Sandra Parker, M.D., has handed her position to another physician, Jill Ringold.

“[Ringold] was a dancer who grew up in Mobile Ballet as a member of our performing company in high school and now has young children who are students. She’s going to do a great job,” Kennedy said.


Westerlies mix influences at pair of shows

A young brass quartet with formidable chops, The Westerlies’ versatility abounds. In addition to their own work, the Seattle-born, New York-based combo has appeared on recordings by Fleet Foxes, Vieux Farka Touré and Dave Douglas.

These young lions blow into Mobile for a pair of March performances. The first is a free sneak preview at Serda Brewing (600 Government St.) on Saturday, March 10, 6-7:30 p.m. This show is co-sponsored by Mobile Chamber Music and the Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed.

The second is a Sunday, March 11, 3 p.m. concert at Laidlaw Performing Arts Center (5751 USA Drive S.) on the University of South Alabama campus. That program includes compositions by Wayne Horvitz and Charles Ives, spirituals by the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet and original Westerlies works.

Tickets are available at Carpe Diem coffee house and at the door.