The Gulfport Merchants Chamber may be growing its staff, but its board of directors is shrinking. Earlier this month, Brenda McMahon and James Briggs both resigned from their spots due to time constraints.
At this time, it’s unclear who will fill the spots of both Briggs (GMC Vice President) and McMahon (GMC Arts Committee chair and board member).
Briggs is the CEO of Gulfport Arts Agency Carroway + Rose. He hopes his resignation will give him more time to focus on his agency, something he’s juggled along with GMC board member status for three years.
“It’s our busiest time of the year at Carroway + Rose and that requires a lot more of my time. I’ve served on the board of the GMC for three years, so the timing for a transition was natural to me, as it’s been for the board of late. The GMC is full of effective business leaders and I wish them well in all they do for the town.”
McMahon, on the other hand, is best known for her role as owner of the Brenda McMahon Gallery, a downtown Gulfport gallery that plays a role as a frequently visited spot on Gulfport’s First Friday Art Walks. McMahon used her gallery as a space for events during the art walks, and helped plan many of the occasional themed art walks, such as Body Beautiful.
After four years, McMahon decided running her gallery and serving on the board was spreading her a bit thin.
“My galley has been growing rapidly, and I just couldn’t do both any longer,” McMahon told The Gabber. “I’m not disappearing, I’m just taking time to regroup. I absolutely hope my gallery continues to be the heart of Art Walk. I’ll always schedule my Artist of the Month openings to align with Art Walk.”
McMahon submitted her resignation this October, but she’s not exactly sure when her last days will be.
“I planned to transition out of my role through the end of the year, but I’m not sure if that will change,” McMahon said.
Briggs and McMahon were two of the three people on the GMC’s committee to redesign Gulfport’s First Friday ArtWalk two years ago, removing all non-artist exhibitors and adding four themed events throughout the year.
GMC board member Barry Loper resigned on the same night as well.
According to GMC board member Kelly Wright, the committee won’t comment on who will replace these members and run the Arts Walks and Fine Arts Festival until the next meeting on Monday, Nov. 7.
However, Wright says it will be revealed at the meeting, if all goes well.
“Those three people dropped this into our lap so we have between now and the next meeting to figure that out,” Wright said. “I can’t confirm anything.”