The Art League, Marco Island’s center for the arts, was filled with well wishers Friday evening for the open house to say goodbye to Christine Neal, executive director.
Neal will officially step down Friday after leading the Art League for nearly seven years. Throughout the evening Neal displayed the personality and character that has endeared her to Marco Island art lovers and the community in general.
For Neal it is all about the arts.
“This is not a goodbye party, it is a party to celebrate how much the arts mean to Marco Island,” said Neal.
The three-hour party barely provided enough time for Neal to speak with and reminisce with each of her well wishers. And if that wasn’t enough, Neal was surprised by three special presentations.
Elaine Hamilton, United Arts Council of Collier County executive director, presented Neal with a certificate of appreciation for service and dedication to Collier County’s arts and cultural community by serving as a member of the Collier County Arts Forum 2003-2010.
Jerry Gibson, Marco Island City councilor, presented Neal with a proclamation from the City of Marco Island. The proclamation stated: The City Council of the City of Marco Island, Florida, extends our heartfelt appreciation and sincere thanks to Christine Neal for her valuable service and dedication to the citizens in our community, and we wish her the best in her future endeavors.
Donna Fiala, Collier County Commissioner, presented Neal with a proclamation from the Board of County Commissioners Collier County. The proclamation stated: Be it proclaimed by Commissioner Donna Fiala that April 23, 2010 be designated as Chris Neal Day in recognition of the outstanding contribution she has made to the Art League and the betterment of Marco Island.
Members of the Art League will not have to worry about the day to day operations of the Art League. Linda Henell who is the assistant to the executive director, will become the interim executive director when Neal leaves.
She has taught me the ropes and I can steer the ship until they find a permanent executive director,” said Henell. “She is a great boss and an even better friend.”