Ryan bids farewell to MAC

CURTAIN CALL: Middleback Arts Centre Manager Ryan Sutherland is joining the Whyalla City Council after 14 years in the role.
CURTAIN CALL: Middleback Arts Centre Manager Ryan Sutherland is joining the Whyalla City Council after 14 years in the role.

Before her interview with the Whyalla News, Middleback Arts Centre manager Ryan Sutherland had a feeling the tears were going to flow when talking about her 21 years of service with Country Arts SA.

And they did, proving the point that even if you know you're going to be moving on, it doesn't make the process any easier.

Ms Sutherland, who has been MAC manager for 14 years, is leaving her role to join the Whyalla City Council as its new communications and engagement officer.

It's an end of an era for Ryan, who got her start at the MAC licking envelopes and helping out at the candy bar selling mints and lollies as a young girl.

"I've always loved the arts, I actually wanted to be a professional dancer but I had a bad back so I had to stop dancing," she said.

"There was a position that became available and I decided that if I couldn't be on the stage I wanted to work behind the scenes in an admin role."

Looking back on her time as centre manager, Ryan can remember "so many" great moments that she's experienced and filled her with a sense of pride.

Some of those highlights include bringing pop star Guy Sebastian and disco entertainer Leo Sayer to perform at the centre, while others are personal moments she holds close to her heart.

"Watching my own daughter go in and enjoy live theatre, that was one of the most beautiful things for me," she said.

"She was very sad when I told her I was moving on, because she won't be able to dance on the stage on her own anymore - that was something I let her do."

Ryan has also been a huge supporter of local dancers and artists, with the MAC acting as a platform for them to perform their show or get their artwork on the walls.

"Playing a role in having the Whyalla Aboriginal Women's Group showcase their art for the first time in a public space was really important to me," she said.

While pulling the curtain on over a decade of service hasn't been easy, Ryan is looking forward to moving into a role focused on community engagement with council.

"The opportunity came up and I feel like it's time for me to be more ingrained in the community outside of the art centre's walls," she said.

"The work I do on the various committees I'm on at the moment has given me a great passion for community engagement and a drive to make more of a difference.

"I look forward to watching the centre grow and succeed, the staff that are here do an incredible job."

Ryan will be joined by long-time colleague Michal Hughes, who is also taking up a role at council.