Maria Sykes Named Executive Director

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Epicenter staff: Jarod Hamm, Maria Sykes, and Steph Crabtree. Photo Credit: Tristan Wheelock.

It’s with great pleasure that we announce Maria Sykes as the new Executive Director of Epicenter. Maria brings with her the institutional knowledge she’s gained as an Epicenter principal, and an undying passion for the community of Green River.

Last year Epicenter switched to an executive directorship model. The previous leadership model served the organization well and Epicenter has grown substantially in the past few years. In an effort to support that growth and ensure long-term sustainability, the board of directors has decided that hiring an executive director is in the best interest of the organization. The board of directors undertook an extensive call-for-applicants, interviewed several candidates, and ultimately decided Maria’s combination of experience and passion for both Epicenter and Green River were the ideal fit for the position.

Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Auburn University, and brings nine years of experience in rural community development as Epicenter’s former Principal of Arts and Culture. During her time at Epicenter, she has co-led the renovation of a 100-year-old building using mostly volunteer labor and an inconceivably tight budget; co-founded the Frontier Fellowship which has now hosted over fifty artists/designers; and facilitated countless successful workshops, projects, and community initiatives. Maria has been working in in this field for less than a decade, but the work has already been honored many times including by Utah Governor Gary Herbert. She is a home-owner in Green River, actively partners with the City of Green River and Green River High School, and recently sat on the board of trustees for Green River’s John Wesley Powell River History Museum.

“I am incredibly honored to be the first Executive Director of Epicenter, an organization I co-founded and had the pleasure of co-directing for many years. What appealed to me most about the privilege to lead Epicenter was the opportunity to continue developing a single strategic vision for an organization that I love in a place I now call home. The organization’s approach in our first eight years was experimental and groundbreaking, but it’s due time we reflected on our past efforts in order to refine our practice. As Executive Director, my first and immediate goal is to strengthen our local partnerships. I am currently assessing our past work and revisiting the community’s needs. With this knowledge in mind, Epicenter is drafting a new strategic plan, recruiting new talent, and refining our programs and systems. Overjoyed with the potential, I welcome you to join me in this next phase of Epicenter.”

-Maria Sykes

Please join us on May 7th from 6-8PM at Epicenter (180 South Broadway in Green River, Utah) for a barbeque to welcome Maria as the new Executive Director. Epicenter facilities will be open to tour including the recently renovated basement and workshop.

The Epicenter Board of Directors