Two of Nantucket’s non-profit agencies - Fairwinds and the Artists Association - are facing a leadership transition this month as Jason and Courtney Bridges have decided to leave the island and relocate to Ohio.
The Artists Association of Nantucket announced Bridges’ departure Tuesday and stated that it had appointed its director of development, Tracey Sears, to serve as interim executive director. Bridges will serve in an advisory capacity to assist with the transition.
“Courtney has been our leader for the past five years and has tremendous insights,” said AAN’s board president Patty Keneally. “Not only did Courtney lead us through the pandemic, but she also developed a digital strategy and established AAN’s ‘Big Gallery’, just to name a few. We are grateful to Courtney for these accomplishments. We wish Courtney, Jason, and their children all the best.”
At Fairwinds, Jason Bridges said he will continue to serve as executive director from both Nantucket and Cleveland while the search for his successor gets underway.
“I’ll be working with the board to ensure a thoughtful and thorough transition,” Jason Bridges said. “Fairwinds means a lot to me and I want to make sure it continues to grow and collaborate. We want to make sure they continue to provide the services they do without a hitch.”
Jason Bridges, who’s lived on Nantucket for the past 24 years, recently completed his second term as a member of the Select Board. The couple had founded several businesses on Nantucket - including Nantucket Bike Tours and the Handlebar Cafe - and served in a variety of other capacities. But they told the Current on Tuesday that a variety of factors had led them to make the difficult decision to relocate their family, including their two young daughters.
“Nantucket is so special to both of us,” said Courtney Bridges, who has lived on the island for 14 years. “We’ve spent the majority of our adult lives on the island and it provides such a unique and special lifestyle that we really tried to take advantage of. We know how special it is to raise young children here. When we had (baby daughter) Marlow we started to realize we wanted to be closer to family. When Marlow was born and she had medical issues, that made me think harder about where I want to be and want to spend my time.”
Jason Bridges added “There were many factors. It was a difficult decision to make. I just feel enormous amounts of gratitude. I don’t know if I’d be able to do the things I did here in another community or a city. This island gave me a lot of opportunities and we had a lot of people help us to implement those big moves.”