Centre for the Living Arts

Centre for the Living Arts
On The Job Training Program

Contemporary Arts Alive in Mobile
The Centre for the Living Arts (CLA) is a private non-profit organization established in early 2000 to promote contemporary visual and performing arts in downtown Mobile. Its mission is to provide opportunities for the development of interest and participation in the visual and performing arts to the general public. The CLA operates the Saenger Theatre and Space 301 contemporary art gallery. In 2003, the Mobile Register donated its former building to CLA and in November of this year Space 301 was opened. The second phase of renovation of the former Mobile Register building will create a contemporary arts center in the Mobile area and provide opportunities for learning, practice and display of these disciplines.

The CLA Saenger Theatre Performing Arts Center is home to over 150 stage events each year. In addition, the CLA/Saenger hosts the Saenger Series, the Summer Movie Series and other special events. It is also home to the Mobile Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Lyric Theatre and Alabama Contemporary Dance Company.

The CLA also operates Space 301, an 8,000 square foot contemporary art gallery, which is located in the former Mobile Register building. Currently, Space 301 represents the first phase in the transformation of a downtown landmark into one of our city’s newest attractions. Following the second phase of renovation, the facility will function as a multi-purpose art center.

The CLA is run by one busy woman—Carlos Parkman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Centre of the Living Arts. Parkman is married, with one adult son and is also the proud grandmother of Rivers, age 2. Her experience conducting fundraising campaigns as well as her 35 year devotion to improving Mobile’s cultural community serves her well. 

In the summer of 2005, Parkman began to consider building her staff. Always looking for creative ways to manage her resources, she turned to Melissa Yeend of the Non-Profit Resource Center for suggestions. Yeend referred her to Mike Thornton, Vice President of Finance for Mobile Works. He informed her of the various programs available through Mobile Works. Mobile Works Job Developer Joyce Browning, led Parkman and her perspective employees through the On the Job Training program. 

Mobile Works sent some qualified potential candidates out to her, but it was the flexibility of being able to send out candidates she was interested in to see if they qualified for the program that really interested Parkman. It turns out that two candidates she was interested in were qualified for the program and Parkman ultimately hired those two new employees through the On-the-Job Training program: Teresa Atkins, Development Director and Shannon Morris, Program Coordinator. This is a choice she may not have made at the time otherwise. Although they were a good match for the organization, neither Atkins nor Morris had the exact qualifications needed for the position. 

Parkman said, “The Mobile Works On-the-Job Training program is excellent. It allowed me to employ two people who had many of the qualifications we were looking for, but had not been in these positions previously. If this program had not existed, I doubt I would have taken that risk. In exchange, the Centre has been enriched by the knowledge they brought to the table, and they have received the necessary training. Of course, they’ve picked up skills needed on the job because they are very bright and motivated. When other positions become available, I will again turn to Mobile Works for help.”

At Mobile Works, we look forward to working with Parkman and The Centre for the Living Arts for many years to come. Both organizations contribute to the future of Mobile, while safeguarding its resources. The Centre for the Living Arts promotes visual and performing arts—the very fabric of Mobile’s culture. Mobile Works helps match Mobile’s jobseekers with companies like The Centre for the Living Arts.

Back To Success Stories