The Artistry Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Kevin Ramach will succeed Andrea Specht as the organization’s executive director, effective July 1, 2019.
Ramach brings deep and varied experience in arts leadership and management to Artistry, including a more than 25-year track record of success encompassing all aspects of the nonprofit performing arts business. He is best known within the Twin Cities arts community for his contributions to the internationally respected Minnesota Opera, where his eight-year tenure culminated in his service as President and General Director from 2012 to 2014. During that time, the Opera achieved a 14-year high in season ticket sales and produced a critically acclaimed, innovative Magic Flute that became the best-selling production in the organization’s history.
In his capacity as Minnesota Opera President and General Director, Ramach also served as President and Board Chair of the Arts Partnership, comprising the Opera, the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, the Schubert Club, and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. During his term of leadership, the Partnership completed a successful $75 million campaign to build a new, state-of-the-art concert hall at the Ordway and create an endowment to fund artistic excellence for future generations.
Earlier in his career, Ramach served in a variety of roles with the Kentucky Opera, including Production & Education Manager and Interim Executive Director; and as an Assistant Professor/Technical Director in the theater department of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. He holds a BFA in Theatre Production from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, an MFA in Theater Design from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and a Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.
Ramach currently serves as Board Chair of the Minneapolis-based Youth Performance Company, and he served on OPERA America’s Technical Production Forum and New Works Forum from 2000 to 2014.
According to Artistry Executive Search Committee Chair Laura Davida Preves, “We are thrilled to have Kevin join Artistry as its next Executive Director. He was the clear choice after an intense national search process that included many qualified candidates. Kevin impressed the committee with his strong leadership, thoughtfulness and clear ideas for realizing Artistry’s strategic vision of making art and artists essential to a vibrant social fabric and civic life. We are excited to welcome him to Artistry’s excellent team."
“I am very excited to join the staff, board and the Bloomington community to continue to advance the mission of Artistry,” said Ramach. “The growth of Artistry under Andrea’s leadership has been remarkable and compelling. I believe that working together we can continue this momentum, expanding the role of arts and engagement in our community.”
Ramach succeeds Artistry Executive Director & Chief Advancement Officer Andrea Specht, who has led the organization since 2009. During Specht’s tenure, Artistry has grown by 65%; advanced the excellence and regional reputation of its theater and visual arts programs; built an outreach program that now ensures arts access for more than 8,500 people of all ages and backgrounds; launched a nationally unique creative placemaking collaboration with the City of Bloomington; completed an ambitious rebranding; and reached an unprecedented level of fundraising success by tripling contributed revenue.
In November 2018, Specht shared with the Board of Directors that after more than nine years at the helm, it was time for her to seek a new set of professional challenges and for Artistry to benefit from a new leader’s ideas and energy. Specht and the board agreed that she would remain in her role until as late as June 30, 2019, giving the board an opportunity to carry out a thoughtful search for her successor.
According to Board President Karen Snedeker, “The board is deeply grateful for Andrea’s exceptional leadership for nearly a decade. Artistry’s transformation over that time is a testament to her vision, work ethic, intelligence, and remarkable ability to inspire and engage our many stakeholders. While we will miss Andrea’s day-to-day presence, she leaves a strong foundation for Kevin and the board to build on in leading Artistry to even greater success.”
Reflecting on her tenure, Andrea stated, “I could not have asked for a more compelling and rewarding assignment than serving as Artistry’s lead advocate. I’ve truly come to love this organization, the people who are part of it, and the community of Bloomington. Leaving something I love so much is hard to do, but it’s the right time for this change. I’m honored to hand the reins to a leader of Kevin’s caliber, and excited to see how Artistry continues to evolve and grow from here.”
Specht will be honored as the recipient of the organization’s first “Diane Darr Award for Artistry Excellence” at a luncheon on Tuesday, June 11, where the Board of Directors will also celebrate successfully raising a $75,000 fund in Specht’s name.