The City of Morganton has always set itself apart by investing in endeavors beyond stereotypical governmental services, including artistic and cultural offerings promoted by several of our departments. Our award-winning downtown is known for its cozy, vibrant and inviting shopping and dining experience. Our performing arts theatre, CoMMA, hosts everything from Broadway shows to local dance recitals. The Morganton Community House is one of the best events venues in the regions for weddings, meetings and gatherings.
These three departments have a long history of working together and sharing resources in order to offer the best experience possible for everyone to enjoy. The Morganton City Council approved a measure during its Monday night meeting that will bring these departments together into one — creating the new Department of Cultural and Creative Development — merging the City’s Main Street Office, CoMMA and Community House into a power house of artistic and cultural offerings for our community.
The new Department of Cultural and Creative Development will allow these sections of the City to continue their partnership, and allow the City to be more proactive in using cultural amenities, events and initiatives to drive economic development. While each department will continue to have its individual focus and function, bringing them all together allows the Department of Creative and Cultural Development to focus on bringing arts, entertainment and cultural experiences to the entire City of Morganton.
“We had to rethink a multitude of things with the onset of COVID-19, including the way City government needed to operate,” said City Manager Sally Sandy. “When we began analyzing our operations, we realized this was an excellent way to combine three departments that already work very closely together into one cohesive unit that will offer a richer, fuller cultural experience for our City.”
With the creation of the Department of Cultural and Creative Development, there will be some restructuring of City staff.
Sharon Jablonski, who has served as the City’s Main Street Director for nearly 30 years, will assume the role of Director of the Department of Cultural and Creative Development. Abby Nelson will assume the role of Main Street Manager. Amber Austin will step into the role of CoMMA Events Manager, and Tony Bova will serve as CoMMA’s Production Manager. Becca Stephens will serve as Business and Events Development Coordinator for the Morganton Community House; Sarah Williams will serve as the Community House’s Chef and Kitchen Manager; and Sharon Davis will be the Managing Supervisor of the events venue. Kasey Goodfellow, James Hildebrand, and Tara Workman will serve in vital support roles for the department.
“Our employees stepping into these positions have served the City for a multitude of years, and have plenty of experience in the departments they will now manage,” Sandy said. “We are entrusting them with the continuing success of these departments that have now been combined into one, and we know they will rise to the occasion.”
Jablonski said she is looking forward to leading the new department, and expanding Morganton’s artistic and cultural offerings.
“Main Street, CoMMA and the Morganton Community House have always worked together to provide the best experience possible for all of our patrons,” Jablonski said. “While the department is new, these employees are not. All of them are seasoned professionals who are excellent at what they do, and I am very excited to have them on my team as we enter this new era for the City of Morganton.”
Sharon Jablonski, who has served as the City’s Main Street Director for nearly 30 years, will assume the role of Director of the Department of Cultural and Creative Development.