Griffin named as new MAD director

EL DORADO, ARK.  – Murphy Arts District (MAD) has announced that Austin Barrow will be leaving his position of President and COO as of January 31, 2019. He has been with El Dorado Festivals and Events, Inc., (EFEI) the organization behind MAD, since its inception in 2011. Barrow was a key individual in the founding of EFEI and was recruited to return to El Dorado in order to spearhead the project that eventually became known as the Murphy Arts District.
An El Dorado native, Barrow previously worked in acting, film production and the performing arts in Los Angeles, California as well as teaching theater at the college level. Barrow decided it was time to return to his original passion and will be involved in several performing arts projects, both here and around the US.
“El Dorado Festivals and Events is sad to say goodbye to Austin, EFEI’s first employee and one of our founders. He is a visionary who understood the potential of arts and entertainment to positively impact the economic vitality of El Dorado,” said Terry Stewart, MAD CEO. “Austin was instrumental in the conception of the project, as well as leading the organization during the construction phase of MAD. He has tirelessly carried our message at the state and city levels, and to our many members, donors and other supporters. We will miss him, but I am also happy that he will be pursuing his dreams. In addition, Austin and his family are staying in El Dorado and he has agreed to consult on various EFEI projects as needed.”
Pam Griffin, current Chief Financial Officer, is being promoted to President and COO (Chief Operating Officer). Griffin, a South Arkansas native, was also a key player in the formation of El Dorado Festivals and Events since joining four years ago. She is a past Chairman of the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce and a board member of both the South Arkansas Arts Center and Turning Point. She also has held many other community volunteer positions. Previous to her work with El Dorado Festivals and Events, Griffin was Controller with AmerCable, now Nexans AmerCable.
Stewart added, “We are so lucky to have such a knowledgeable, experienced executive as a member of our team who can step in and take over the COO position. Pam’s background of many years in finance and senior management is a perfect blend for her new responsibilities.”
Barrow provided the following statement:
“The past eight years have been an amazingly rewarding period of my life, and I look back on those years with an enormous amount of pride and respect for those that have helped me personally and to the creation of the Murphy Arts District. I could never have imagined that so much could be accomplished when we started on day one and I am genuinely excited to see where the years to come take the district and the community as a whole. Our past successes and imminent future accomplishments are reasons why I feel satisfied with stepping down as President and COO of the organization to continue to pursue my personal artistic goals. Regardless of my course change, my family and I are firmly ‘El Doradoans’. I’m looking forward to getting back to coaching teams and being the father and husband I’ve always wanted to be.”
“I am excited that Pam Griffin, our current CFO, has agreed to take the helm. The organization is fortunate to have someone of her talent to lead it into the next phases of our project. I have promised to assist her and EFEI when called upon.”
“Although I am leaving my post, I look forward to experiencing a great many programs planned for the coming years as a patron. Having been a part of creating such a fun environment for our community, coming to the district to join the party will be a happy moment for my entire family. So, I look forward to having a good time with each of you as the district continues to grow and attain new heights in the coming seasons.”
“I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with Austin over the past four years,” said Griffin. “It has been the highlight of my career to be part of such a transformative project and I am excited about MAD’s future. We have some great plans for the continued evolution of MAD and El Dorado as a Southern Arkansas cultural destination. With just over a year of operating under our belt, we’ve seen a significant increase in tourism interest, sales tax receipts for the city, and hotel occupancy. All of these indicators are pointing to a more economically healthy and vibrant El Dorado.”
MAD, a production of El Dorado Festivals & Events, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to create and sustain an arts and entertainment destination that acts as a catalyst for cultural and educational change for the region. It relies on the generous support of individuals, corporations, and foundations to develop and sustain programs that improve the quality of life in the community and region.
El Dorado, Ark., also known as “the pride of South Arkansas,” is a former oil boom town and a rising arts destination. Home to a 1920s oil rush that brought a flurry of industry to “Arkansas’ Original Boomtown.” The city also has had significant investments in economic development, education and corporate community sponsorship with forthcoming investments, including the notable El Dorado Promise, a unique college scholarship program established by Murphy Oil Corporation providing local El Dorado High School graduates tuition at any accredited two-and four-year educational institution in the U.S.

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