Clark ending tenure as Pickford Film Center's director

Alice Clark plans to step down as the executive director of Bellingham’s Pickford Film Center, the nonprofit organization announced Sept. 11.

Clark has led the Pickford since 2001, and has been involved with the center as a founding board member and volunteer since 1998. She will end her tenure on Dec. 31, according to the Pickford’s announcement.

The center’s board of directors has created a hiring committee to begin searching for a replacement.

Clark was at the helm of the Pickford while the film center experienced significant evolution. After its start in 1998 at its original location on Cornwall Avenue (which today is the Pickford’s Limelight Cinema, the smaller of the center’s two facilities), Clark directed efforts to raise money for the center’s new downtown location.

She also led the recent successful $225,000 fundraising effort that allowed the Pickford’s film directors to purchase new digital projection equipment, which was necessary due to the film industry’s shift away from traditional 35 mm film.

The Pickford has grown substantially since Clark began as its director in 2001. According to statistics provided by the center, in Clark’s tenure:

– Annual revenue  increased from $230,000 to $1 million.
– Membership grew from 1,000 to 3,500.
– Annual ticket sales grew from 14,340 to 85,380.
– The center expanded from one 80-seat venue to two venues with a total of 277 seats.

While Clark was director, the Pickford also won two Bellingham Mayor’s Arts Awards in recognition of the center’s impact as a local cultural institution.

“I became involved in the organization as a founding board member and volunteer in 1998 and at that time I had no idea that it would lead me to this position,” Clark said, in a statement released by the film center.

“I learned early on in my tenure with PFC that film has such an immense ability to impact a community in a positive way. That was a huge draw for me personally. Although there is some sadness in closing this very rewarding chapter of my life, there is a lot of satisfaction as well. The Pickford has come so far in the past 15 years and its future is bright and full of possibilities. It has all the potential in the world.”

According to a news release, Clark will stay in Bellingham, and plans to continue organizing various community activities including the Sunnyland Stomp. She also recently began selling her homemade pies at the Bellingham Farmers Market, under the moniker: Alice’s Pies.

Evan Marczynski, staff reporter for The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or evan@bbjtoday.com

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