The City of Columbus and Columbus Arts Council have joined forces to bring in a fresh perspective to help promote arts and culture in the community.
Elley Coffin was recently hired in a joint position of the City’s community coordinator and Arts Council’s executive director.
“The City and Arts Council have been working together on the development of this position, which will be responsible for programming management and development for the Community Building, Arts Council and also around Columbus. This is a great public-private partnership that will bring more programming, cultural activities and diversity to the community,” City Administrator Tara Vasicek said. “Elley has a proven track record of creating valuable programming and engaging residents, we are thrilled to have her on our team.”
An Oklahoma native, Coffin has lived the Norfolk area for more than 15 years and brings with her years of experience.
Coffin graduated from Wayne State College with a bachelor’s degree in K–12 art education. She previously served as the program coordinator of the Norfolk Arts Center.
“With my past role as the program coordinator of the Norfolk Arts Center post-the peak of COVID, I have experienced building programming, outreach and opportunities from the ground up that provide my community with artistic outlets for those who practice as well as appreciate, community cohesion and partnership, and unique special events,” she said. “I am excited to be able to share my knowledge and guidance with Columbus to help in the expansion and goals of growth, opportunity, fun, and development for all of those who live, work, visit, and invest in the Columbus community.”
The opportunity to take on the roles with the City and Columbus Arts Council was intriguing to Coffin because of the growth of the community with efforts such as the voter-approved Columbus Community Building and ongoing partnerships between numerous local entities.
“I know all of these things will bring in new residents, higher tourism rates, more employment opportunities, and vast economic development,” Coffin said. “I am excited to be joining the community as it embarks on this new and exciting endeavor.”
As the City’s community coordinator, Coffin will focus her effort on community outreach, downtown growth and opportunities, noting she will be the point person for all rentals available in the Community Building when it opens later this year.
As the executive director of the Columbus Arts Council, she will be responsible for the administration and facilitation of all things related to the arts council. That will include bringing visual arts, art education, performing arts, membership and special event programming to the community, among other things.
“By partnering the two together, this takes a lot of the conflict of competing programming out of the picture,” Coffin said. “Instead of having two separate struggling establishments who are losing support, participation, partnership opportunities and funding due to competing similar offerings, this cooperation will allow for one very healthy and strong collaboration with wider outreach, heightened investment, more vast awareness and better sustainability.”
She will be based out of the Community Building once it opens, but Coffin can be reached at either of her emails: Elley.email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
She said she has loved getting to know her colleagues and numerous community members since she started on Feb. 27th. She’s looking forward to diving into her work and finding new ways to collaborate and promote arts and culture in Columbus.
“I truly believe in the saying ‘It takes a village …’ I am all about building connections and relationships that promote support, partnerships, and outreach that can enable the goals Columbus has to come to fruition. I also love to build programming and opportunities that not only promote the entities I serve, but also support local businesses, nonprofits, organizations, residents, artists/creatives, education and more,” Coffin said.
“Do not be surprised if our paths cross as I reach out to you for collaboration, support, investment and idea incubation! After all, it takes a village and I look forward to becoming a part of yours.”