PORT TOWNSEND — After seven years, Northwind Art Executive Director Teresa Verraes will step down from her post, effective Dec. 15.
Verraes, who was chief of The Chamber of Jefferson County before becoming founding director of the Port Townsend School of the Arts (PTSA), has guided the organization through many changes. The Northwind Arts Center-PTSA merger was completed in 2021, amid the global pandemic and the ever-changing conditions in the nonprofit sector.
She’ll continue to live in her hometown of Port Townsend while taking a break from full-time work. Verraes, 51, said she will stay available as a resource throughout the transition to a new director.
Northwind Art operates downtown Port Townsend’s Jeanette Best Gallery, in the historic Waterman & Katz building at 701 Water St., and the Northwind Art School at Fort Worden State Park. The nonprofit organization seeks to bring people together through art, and to serve artists of all ages and levels, said communications manager Diane Urbani.
Longtime Northwind Art board member Martha Worthley will serve as interim director, starting later this month. Worthley’s background includes managing Centrum’s Young Artists Project and Artists in Residence Program. She’s also a former art teacher and a current art business owner.
“Martha’s professional experience at Centrum and time on the Northwind Art board make her the ideal candidate to support a smooth transition,” Northwind Art board president Linda Rosenbury said.
“She will work with the staff, board and community to ensure strong exhibits at Jeanette Best Gallery and classes at Fort Worden and synergy between the two.”
“The last three years have been full of twists and turns,” Verraes acknowledged.
“Together, we have risen to the occasion: securing funding to keep Northwind Art viable, creating jobs for artists and engaging the community — at a time when art was very much needed for our collective well-being,” Verraes said.
“Through our bold decisions, we have preserved a beloved community asset, and stepped up to join in the vision and creation of the Arts & Culture corridor alongside our partners at Fort Worden.
“All of this,” Verraes said, “has happened thanks to the Northwind Art family of supporters. It has been such an honor to be part of this effort.”
“Teresa has led with her heart, soul and intellect through an incredible cycle of invention and challenge. She did so with enthusiasm and grace throughout,” added David Engle, former board president and current board member.
“Northwind Art stands today thanks in large part to her commitment and vision. We look forward to building on her wonderful work,” he said.