The Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center of Worthington's new director said the position has been "like coming home."

Erin Blue of Columbus started as director of the arts center Dec. 3.

Blue replaces Katie Kramer, who served as director for about eight months after starting Jan. 2, 2019, and leaving in August for a position at the Council of Development Finance Agencies.

The Worthington arts center's only other director was Jon Cook, who retired in September 2018 after serving nine years in the role. Cook helped open the center at 777 Evening St. in 2009.

Jack Miner, a member of the arts center's board of trustees, said the board conducted a nationwide search of about 140 candidates and decided in November to hire Blue.

"We had done a search for about 2 1/2 months prior to that," he said.

Miner said Blue seemed like the right person going forward because of the variety of art disciplines that are covered by the McConnell Arts Center and her local ties.

"The other piece that I think really set her apart was a strong connection to the Columbus arts community," he said.

Blue was development director at the McConnell Arts Center for four years until she left in 2019.

"I really loved everything about the MAC and kind of the role it serves in the community," she said.

She said in 2019, she accepted an opportunity to work for the Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation in donor relations and operations, but she decided to apply for the director position and come back to the center to use her arts background.

"I've always worked in the arts and have an arts background, so it's a great opportunity to come back into a new role," she said.

Originally from Tallahassee, Florida, Blue said, she moved to Columbus in 1999 after earning a bachelor's degree in theater from Florida State University and working primarily as a stage manager.

Locally, she has worked with the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus Symphony and Opera Columbus.

Blue said thus far, the transition has been smooth.

"It's like a new job at an old gig," she said.

She said her background has been helpful, and she also knows "the rhythm of how everything runs at the MAC."

Blue said she wants to bring the larger Columbus arts community to visit the arts center.

"People are really just astonished at how much happens here," Blue said.