New executive director takes helm at York arts nonprofit

York-based nonprofit arts organization The Parliament has named a former director of the Georgia-based International Cherry Blossom Festival as its new executive director.

A native of Macon, Georgia, Collin Holder took the helm of The Parliament on Wednesday.

Holder, 28, served previously as director of operations of the 10-day International Cherry Blossom Festival held in Georgia. In that capacity, Holder oversaw a sizable event budget and a number of related activities held throughout the year, including the Cherry Blossom Ball and a street party that has nabbed national and international awards from the festival industry.

“Attracting this talented event organizer is more than just good news for The Parliament,” said board president Josh Hankey, president and CEO of Royal Square Development and Construction. “It’s a symbol that York City is no longer being held back by the old ideas that discouraged our community from reaching its full potential.”

Since The Parliament’s founder Alexandra Dwyer left to pursue other ventures last July, gallery director Kate Harmon has been in the role of interim executive director.

Holder will work under The Parliament’s board of directors, overseeing all operations of the nonprofit.

Hankey said Holder reflects the trend of young people return to smaller cities where they can create vibrant arts communities while taking advantage of lower costs of living than they would in find most major metro areas.

Silas Chamberlin, CEO of Downtown Inc, credits, in part, a number of residential development projects like Color Works, REVI Flats and One West as features that appeal to millennials as they offer affordable rent to young professionals. He also cited a number of companies that have drawn millennial employees into the city – including, Sapio Sciences LLC, Benjamin & Bond, Warehaus and York Revolution – who then decide to make the downtown their home.

“Millennials tend to be drawn to places like Downtown York that are walkable and have an eclectic mix of dining options, retail, and entertainment options. They are less likely to be satisfied living in the suburbs and driving to meet all of their needs,” he said. “Downtown York is also a place where a millennial can come to try out their idea, push the limits, be creative, and launch and grow their business.”

Emily Thurlow
​Emily Thurlow covers York County​ for the Central Penn Business Journal. Have a tip? Drop her a line at ethurlow@cpbj.com.

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