Hunter Thomas joined United Jewish Federation of Tidewater as the new director of Arts & Ideas on Tuesday, Feb. 1.
Thomas’ career began at Youngstown’s Jewish Community Center as a junior camp counselor. He later worked in various departments before most recently serving as director of Early Childhood & Youth, overseeing operations of the JCC’s early learning center, summer day camps, and all youth, family, and teen programming for Jewish and non-Jewish youth and families.
An involved lay-leader at Congregation Ohev Beth Sholom in Youngstown, Thomas taught religious school, led services, and was a member of the ritual and clergy search committees. He also served on the final board of trustees for Congregation Rodef Sholom before its merger with Ohev Tzedek-Shaarei Torah.
Thomas received an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education from Youngstown State University in 2019.
While much of Thomas’ professional career focused on education, he is no stranger to the arts. In his previous role, Thomas integrated the JCC’s arts programs into the youth programs he oversaw through partnerships with the arts and culture staff. These program partnerships included a PJ Library “sip and plant” for Tu Bishvat, an art gallery exhibit featuring artwork from preschool-aged students, and summer camp theatrical productions.
Thomas comes from a family of artists and musicians (his mother teaches art classes at the JCC of Youngstown) and he was active in Youngstown’s theater community, performing in an outdoor production of Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well in summer 2021. Thomas also worked with Lights On Community Theatre Task Force, a group that provides education and support to victims of sexual violence in Youngstown’s theater community.
“Jews throughout history from the U.S., Israel, and beyond have contributed so much to music, art, film, theatre, and more,” Thomas says, “and I am thrilled to be able to support artists in telling Jewish stories through these mediums.”
To contact Hunter Thomas about Arts & Ideas, email him at email@example.com.