The first and only director of the Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center of Worthington has decided to retire at the end of this year.

Jon Cook, 54, who has spent nine years as director after the MAC opened in 2009 at 777 Evening St., said he does not have specific plans for his retirement but he wants to travel, among other things.

"I think I'll volunteer my time at some level. ... I think I'll always stay connected," he said.

Cook, a Columbus resident, said the MAC really began with the community and its continued support and excitement for the opportunities that are offered at the center. The multidisciplinary facility, which has a 213-seat theater, an exhibition gallery, classrooms and a dance studio, presents and promotes the performing, visual and digital arts, according to its website, mcconnellarts.org.

"We're in a really good place as an organization," he said.

Andy Herron, director of operations for the MAC, said Cook would be missed greatly and the search has begun for his replacement.

"He's been great and he had a lot of connections to artists and different arts people in town," Herron said.

Herron, who also has been with the MAC since it opened, said Cook has been an excellent person to work for.

"He's always willing to chip in," Herron said.

Cook's last day will be Dec. 31. Over the past 11 years, Cook has curated, installed or juried 125 different exhibits for a variety of institutions, festivals and experiences across the country, according to a release from the organization.

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