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Rhyno, Buchanan leave Osprey Arts Centre

Darcy Rhyno (left) and Alex Buchanan stand in front of the mural at Buchanan’s HarbourTone Productions in Shelburne.
Darcy Rhyno (left) and Alex Buchanan stand in front of the mural at Buchanan’s HarbourTone Productions in Shelburne. - Sue Deschene

Shelburne’s Osprey Arts Centre is losing two longtime staff members.

General manager Darcy Rhyno and artistic director Alex Buchanan are both stepping down.

Buchanan, who started working at the Osprey in 2012, is leaving on Sept. 27, while Rhyno will be leaving on Oct. 4. Rhyno handles the Osprey’s many administrative duties, while Buchanan organizes its programming.

Mark Riley, who chairs the Osprey’s board of directors, says the board is contemplating combining the two part-time positions into one full-position. Once that decision is made, the board will be sending job postings to arts-related organizations and employment agencies.

In a press release, Riley and the rest of the board expressed gratitude to Rhyno and Buchanan for all they have done for the Osprey.

“We thank them sincerely for all they have done to bring the arts into our community. We wish them well in their personal business endeavours and are sure their future continued success is guaranteed.”

The Osprey opened in 2003, and Rhyno started working there in 2006. At that time, it was an empty shell. One of Rhyno’s first jobs was to organize a major fundraising campaign to finish the centre.

An established travel writer and author, Rhyno plans to push for more professional writing projects and work on his own personal projects.

“I’ll be doing more trying to further my own career as a travel writer. I’m pitching more ideas to more, bigger places. I’m going to go big, or stay home.”

A gifted musician and music producer, Buchanan has owned and operated HarbourTone Productions since 2011.

“Once I’m not being split in two different directions, it’s going to be amazing just to be able to focus on this. I’m going to be really promoting the music side of things, and also focusing on my own music, too.”

Rhyno and Buchanan have mixed emotions about what the future holds in store.

“Some of these emotions are like dealing with a death in the family,” Rhyno admits. “Others are, I am so excited to be able to call my time my own and to be able to commit to whatever I feel like committing to. I really felt like the Osprey was my baby for a long time. I always saw it as equal parts job and community service. I always felt like I was going in to . . . help out this part of the province with arts development and presentation.”

In a way, Buchanan has been with the Osprey longer than Rhyno. When his mother, Lisa, was working in the office, Buchanan was in elementary school and spent a fair bit of time there.

“I’ve been on the Osprey train for a long, long, long time,” he reflects. “I don’t think I know my adult self without the Osprey.”

Buchanan worked there as a sound technician and summer student. Then, when the previous artistic director, Susan Hoover, stepped down, he applied for that position and was hired.

“I grew up and grew into the role,” he recalls. “So emotionally, I’m all over the place. I’m really nostalgic about leaving the Osprey. I’ll probably take a step back for a little while . . . but I’d love to help out in the future. I think that it’s a really important part of our town.”

One project Rhyno and Buchanan are particularly excited about is expanding the video production side of the business they’ve been running together.

Among the 30 videos Rhyno and Buchanan have produced are the “Lumber Jake” series of gasoline safety videos featuring a local cast, including world champion logroller Darren Hudson playing the title character. Those videos are available on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lumberjakegas.

They also produced videos featuring Shelburne County for the WhyHere.ca website, which promotes living and working on Nova Scotia’s South Shore.

Rhyno and Buchanan are looking into making a documentary film, and they even plan to write a musical together.

In the meantime, their Osprey work continues. The Osprey’s programming has been completed for this year, so the new director will start with a clean slate for 2020.

Not only that, but that person will walk into a newly refurbished facility, as well.

The May 19 fire at the Shelburne Harbour Yacht Club, housed in the same building as the Osprey Arts Centre, caused smoke damage at the Osprey. Luckily, most of the furnishings and equipment could be cleaned and put back into place.

But flooring and washrooms had to be replaced. Not only will the new washrooms be completely renovated, but Rhyno found an accessibility grant to make them fully accessible.

Once all the work is completed, the Osprey will be released back to the staff and board and can be reopened to the public. That timing is uncertain, but everyone hopes it will happen by the end of this summer.

“My time at the Osprey is bookended by this giant construction project, turning it from a shell into a theatre, and then the recovery from this fire, to present to the public a brand-new version of the Osprey,” Rhyno says.

While the Osprey is being reassembled, events originally scheduled there had to be cancelled or moved to other venues. That generated this summer’s “Rattle the Halls” series, in which community halls throughout Shelburne County are hosting concerts presented by the Osprey. The series has turned out to be hugely popular with audiences around the county.

Rhyno is proud of the praise audience members give the Osprey, especially when people say performances presented there rival those offered at larger venues in bigger cities. “The space is humble, and still being perfected. But, on the other hand, what we can put onstage here in Shelburne has been pretty special over the years.”

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