ORANGE PARK – New leadership has joined the Thrasher-Horne Center located at the Orange Park campus of St. Johns River State College. Bob Olson has been hired as the executive director, he …
ORANGE PARK – New leadership has joined the Thrasher-Horne Center located at the Orange Park campus of St. Johns River State College. Bob Olson has been hired as the executive director, he succeeds Anna Zirbel-Williams. Araina Eber will serve as the director of artistic and guest services.
According to SJR State President Joe Pickens, “We endeavor to inspire our audiences to recognize and appreciate the value of art at the Thrasher-Horne Center and its influence on our community; therefore, we are both excited about and grateful for the strong leadership that Bob and Araina bring to the Thrasher-Horne Center to guide these efforts.”
Olson, who has a master’s degree in public administration, joined SJR State in 2007. He began directing the Thrasher-Horne Conference Center in 2012, followed by also directing the venue’s business operations in 2016. Before joining SJR State and the Thrasher-Horne Center, Olson served in the military for 31 years, retiring as a Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard in December 2007.
“I feel so blessed and honored about this opportunity. To be able to serve our college, our community and the Thrasher-Horne Center in this capacity is so very exciting,” Olson said. “I am, fortunately, surrounded by a fantastic team at the center. Together, I am looking forward to continuing our efforts and our vision of making the Thrasher-Horne Center the premiere gathering place and event center in Northeast Florida.”
Eber will work closely with Olson to continue moving the Thrasher-Horne forward. With a bachelor’s degree in supervision and management and a solid background in box office and patron services management, Eber’s employment at the Thrasher-Horne Center began as the box office manager in 2014, followed by the director of guest services in 2019.
“I am very happy to be a part of the Thrasher-Horne Center team,” Eber said. “I have been involved with programming and guest services on many levels during my time here and have seen tremendous growth. In my new role, I plan to use my experience and strong analytical skills to continue growing our offerings of entertainment, event spaces and amazing customer service to the community and surrounding areas.”
Combining Eber’s artistic and guest services strengths with Olson’s action-oriented strategic visionary strengths, SJR State Vice President for Development and External Affairs Caroline Tingle is confident that this new leadership will take an already “first-class venue” to the next level. “I look forward to working with Bob, Araina and the whole Thrasher-Horne team to create even more exciting events for the community to enjoy,” said Tingle. “Bob has a passion for Clay County and wants to ensure a positive cultural and economic impact on the community.”
The Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts, located at St. Johns River State College in Orange Park, is the cultural core of the community, offering the very best performances, visual art exhibits, and event space for meetings, retreats and more.