City of Vancouver parts ways with managing director of cultural services Richard Newirth

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      There's been another shuffle in the senior ranks of Vancouver's civic government.

      Richard Newirth is no longer the managing director of cultural services.

      The city has released the following statement, which is remarkably bereft of details:

      "Due to organizational changes at the City of Vancouver, Rich Newirth is no longer employed by the City.  Rich was employed as Managing Director of Cultural Services. We would like to thank Rich for his work to raise the profile of public art in Vancouver.

      "Art and Culture are critical elements of a high functioning and healthy city and the City will continue to move forward with its plans to elevate and emphasize art and culture in Vancouver.

      "To support this, City Council recently gave a significant boost to Vancouver’s Public Art program, with $1.5 million to be spent through 2018. This includes the first-ever Vancouver Mural Festival as well as expanding community art grants to $195,000 annually, an increase of $300,000 over two years."

      Newirth was hired by the city in 2007 as the director of public art, planning, and facilities development. In 2009, he became acting managing director of cultural services before moving into the job on a permanent basis in 2010.

      Prior to being employed by the City of Vancouver, Newirth spent 12 years as director of cultural affairs with the San Francisco Art Commission.

      Newirth's Twitter feed is silent about the reasons for his departure.

      As Vancouver's managing director of cultural services, Newirth had his hands in many major arts and cultural issues, including helping facilitate the creation of a new Vancouver Art Gallery on West Georgia Street across from the Sandman Hotel.

      In 2013, he tweeted his joy when council approved going ahead with the project.

      The VAG is in the midst of a $350-million capital and endowment campaign and has selected Switzerland-based Herzog & de Meuron to design the museum building on the Larwill Park site. VAG officials hope to open the new gallery in 2021.

      Newirth was also the point man for the city on cultural affairs during the 2010 Winter Olympics.