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Exit Stage Knight

Departing United Arts President and CEO Margot Knight recounts her decade of creativity amid chaos

Photo: Chieu Nguyen, License: N/A

Chieu Nguyen

Photo: Rob Bartlett, License: N/A

Rob Bartlett

Is it surprising to you you’re so polarizing among the chattering class?

My question is, why? If somebody sits down with me, I was trained in the oral story, and I’m a listener; I mean I’m very interested in other peoples’ stories. I am completely mystified by being demonized. I am. I don’t get it. There’s no reason for it. I don’t burn bridges, I have never said anything publicly that wasn’t in the best interest of a good outcome. Every once in a while I say or do something I’m ashamed of and it’s called on and I apologize, but the amount of people that talk about me and not to me, what’s that about? Anybody can call me and I return all phone calls. I have an open door at my office. It’s so interesting to hear things that I said or did that are kind of what I said or did but not exactly what I said or did. And I’ll be singing ‘Oh, Lord please don’t let me be misunderstood,’ which is frustrating for me. But yeah, I do have opinions, but I know what I don’t know. I’m very clear about my own values. And I’ve done this work for 35 years. And I’m wrong, and when I’m wrong, I apologize.

When you walk away from Central Florida, what’s going to be going through your head?

There are things I will not miss. There is no question. I’ll miss a handful of really good friends that I’ve made really good friendships with. People that I trust and trust me, that knew my heart, you always miss those. What music will I have on? The ironies of Djerassi are many, and one of them is that my favorite movie was filmed there in Woodside: Harold and Maude. Cat Stevens: ‘If you want to be you, be you. If you want to be me, be me.’ Going to California, because it’s all filmed there, at Santa Cruz on the boardwalk, I’ll be thinking about this as my Harold and Maude moment. n


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