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Out North art house lays off entire staff

Out North Contemporary Art House, a gallery and performing arts center, has laid off its entire staff, including Executive Director Dawnell Smith and Operations Director Teeka Ballas, according to a report Monday in the Anchorage Press newspaper.

The layoffs were confirmed by a letter from the organization's board of directors to the staff, which cited financial difficulties for the decision, according to the story.

A volunteer with Out North told the Press that Smith met privately with board members this morning, before an emotional staff meeting in which they delivered the news. Four full-time and two part-time employees were given their final paychecks and asked to collect their belongings and return any Out North property. After the meeting the board changed the locks on the Out North building at 3800 Debarr Road.

-- Daily News staff