3S announces founder’s departure

Greiner gone less than a year after venue's opening

3S Artspace has announced the departure of founder and former executive director Chris Greiner.

The Portsmouth nonprofit made the announcement in a press release around 5:30 p.m. on Friday. The release does not explain the reason for his departure, which comes three months after the organization’s board of directors asked Greiner to take an indefinite leave of absence.

“I am tremendously proud of the collaborative community effort that brought 3S to Portsmouth, and feel a great sense of personal accomplishment for what we have built,” Greiner said in the press release, “and I will continue my steadfast support of the vision I and so many other people worked so tirelessly to create.”

Greiner most recently served as artistic director at 3S. Former board chair Karil Reibold is serving as interim executive director while the organization searches for a permanent replacement.

“Chris Greiner’s vision remains at the core of 3S, and the Seacoast arts community is a better place due to his efforts,” Reibold said in the release.

Greiner spent more than five years planning and fundraising for 3S. The nonprofit facility, which includes a performance space, art gallery, and the Block Six restaurant, held its grand opening in March 2015 in a newly renovated building in Portsmouth’s North End. Greiner initially served as executive director, but his position was changed to artistic director last fall. In early November, less than eight months after the venue opened, the board asked him to take a leave of absence until the end of the year. The announcement Friday makes it official that Greiner will not be returning.

3S Artspace development and marketing manager Celeste Ladd and founder and artistic director Chris Greiner in March 2015. Photo by John Benford Photography

3S development and marketing manager Celeste Ladd and founder Chris Greiner in March 2015. photo by John Benford Photography

The decision to place Greiner on a leave of absence last fall caused a backlash among many of his supporters, with some threatening to boycott 3S until he was reinstated.

In Friday’s press release, 3S board chair Erik Dodier said, “Chris Greiner was a tremendous leader in the formation of the 3S vision and in bringing this critical arts venue to Portsmouth. Working with Chris since 2011, I have admired his incredible orchestration and success in getting the organization a permanent space that has brought a new excitement to the arts community in Portsmouth. I speak for the entire board, staff and many volunteers that we are grateful for his leadership and contributions and look forward to his continued support of 3S.”

This story will be updated.