BLOOMINGTON — James Mack said he has been wanting to move to a smaller metropolitan area closer to his Midwestern roots that presented opportunities to challenge him professionally.
Becoming Bloomington's new performing arts manager checked all of those boxes, Mack, 49, told The Pantagraph Thursday.
On Feb. 12 he will start managing both the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts at the north end of downtown and the nearby Creativity Center.
"It's a wonderful opportunity in that I definitely see the city as desiring to have some wonderful programming and some experiences all related to the arts," Mack said.
"That's my forte," he said. "I like to pride myself on my ability to bring a smorgasbord of programming — something for everybody."
He was impressed by the BCPA and "a city that really appreciates the arts and is eager to grow upon the arts," said Mack. "It's a smaller community so anything I do will have an impact. It will be noted."
"I've lived in larger metropolitan areas for the last 15 years, so when a friend of mine who works for the city of Bloomington told me there was an opening for the performing arts center, I jumped at it," he added.
He and his family, now living in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, want to live somewhere smaller, he said. Before that Mack lived in San Diego, Tucson, Phoenix, Denver, and Minneapolis.
"We'll be real close to family and friends," said Mack, who was born and raised in Sioux Falls, S.D., and is married to Ames, Iowa, native Alexandra "Lexa." They have two daughters, ages 8 and 12.
"We both enjoyed growing up in smaller communities. We liked the involvement in these smaller communities," he said. "So I feel very blessed and fortunate to be given the opportunity to move to Bloomington and do some wonderful things for the arts."
One of his top priorities is to make the Creativity Center, a former medical arts building at 107 E. Chestnut St., "what everybody hopes it would be," said Mack. "First and foremost, you've got to get out there and raise the money (to support it).
"I am nobody's fool," he added. "I know that will be difficult, but I'll bring the money in, and we'll get that place up and running as quickly as possible."
The position that has not been permanently filled since the unexpected death of Tina Salamone in March 2017.
"I didn't know her, but I know enough about her to know that she and I were of the same mindset: We are true believers in the arts, and that's what it's all about."
Mack most recently served as managing director/facility director for the Mesquite Arts Council in Mesquite, Texas.
He has a bachelor of arts in cultural anthropology from the University of Arizona and is anticipating a master's degree in nonprofit administration from the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business later this year.