MEDICINE HAT, AB – It’s going to be a new chapter for Aaron Nelson, but that doesn’t make leaving the place he’s called home for a decade any easier.
On Tuesday, Nelson announced he will be stepping down from his position as executive director of Medalta in the summer, a position he’s held since December of 2017.
His tenure at Medalta dates back much further than that, as he came to the Clay District as a kiln builder in 2009.
“I came to build one of these kilns, so I came [here] you could say as a craftsman or a trades person,” said Nelson. “Then, I was accepted into the Artist in Residence program, so I was here as an artist.”
Nelson has accepted a position with the City of Medicine Hat as the new manager of community connections and support, a job that he will officially begin in June.
His new role will focus on managing much of the City’s cultural and social programming, including the Esplanade, Veiner Centre, Cultural Centre, and Saamis Teepee.
“One of my passions is engaging our community,” said Nelson. “I just see this new role as a way that I can engage more Medicine Hat citizens with cultural and social activities.”
Nelson will remain on with Medalta for the next three months assisting in the transition between himself and the new executive director.
Over his time at the helm of Medalta, Nelson said his highlights include the growth of the Artists in Residence program and helping to start the process of bringing solar power to the site.
“What really makes Medalta tick is the people and it’s the relationships,” said Nelson. “So it’s the staff, our community stakeholders, and it’s our volunteers. I feel it’s really important to ensure that this new person is able to have a smooth transition by being introduced to all of these people that support Medalta in so many ways.”
Nelson said it’s a bittersweet feeling knowing his time in an official capacity with Medalta is coming to an end, but added it’s gratifying to have been a part of Medicine Hat’s history.
“These walls they hold stories, they hold 107 years of stories,” he said. “I know the day that I walk out of here as executive director that my story will be a part of these walls, that’s a really good feeling.”
Nelson is hoping to continue on as a volunteer with Medalta once he begins his new position with the City of Medicine Hat.
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