Artistry Announces the Appointment of Kevin Ramach as Executive Director

Kevin Ramach becomes Artistry's new Executive Director on July 1, succeeding Andrea Specht. Kevin and Andrea share a lifelong passion for the performing and visual arts.

Kevin Ramach becomes Artistry's new Executive Director on July 1, succeeding Andrea Specht. Kevin and Andrea share a lifelong passion for the performing and visual arts.

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.

ramach_kevin

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.

Announcing the Cast of Footloose

INTRODUCING THE CAST OF FOOTLOOSE, OPENING JULY 19

FOOTLOOSE_1.png

Jordan Leggett, Evan Latta, Alyson Enderle, Ethan Davenport, Angela Steele, Emily Scinto, Dylan Rugh, Reese Britts, and Erin Farste

ARTY FTLS 1920.png

When seventeen-year-old Ren McCormack’s father walks out on his family with no explanation and no goodbye, Ren is forced to move from Chicago to a town in the middle of Nowhere, Nowheresville, where he has no friends and no prayer of fitting in. Things go from bad to worse when he realizes that the town has outlawed his only outlet—dancing, the girl he likes is the conservative preacher’s daughter, and her boyfriend has a mean right hook and a target on Ren’s head. So our endlessly optimistic hero does the only thing he knows how to do: fight back. And get every kid in school to do it with him. Based on the beloved 1980s film and featuring all the songs that made it famous, this musical is a non-stop dance party with a heart of gold.

Email_ETHANG2.png
EMAL_ETHANGCOMBO.png

Ethan Davenport makes his Artistry debut as Ren McCormack. Growing up in South Minneapolis, Ethan appeared at the Guthrie Theater, the History Theater, and in over a half dozen productions at Children's Theater Company. He is a rising junior in the prestigious theater program at University of Evansville. 

Angela Steele played Elle Woods in last summer's production of Legally Blonde. She may also be familiar to Artistry audiences as Janet Van de Graaf in The Drowsy Chaperone (2016) or Amber Von Tussle in Hairspray (2015). Her other Twin Cities credits include Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Theatre Latte Da, and the History Theater.

Email_Adults.png

Jennifer EckesPaul R. Coate*, and Shana Eisenberg all return to Artistry in Footloose. Jennifer was last seen in the The Music Man (2017) as Marian Paroo, Paul in Legally Blonde (2018) as Professor Callahan, and Shana in Victor/Victoria (2018). 
          * Member AEA

EMAIL_ALSO.png
Email_reeseerin3.png

With Austin Lewis (Chuck Cranston), Emily Scinto (Urleen), Alyson Enderle (Wendy Jo), France Roberts (Wes Warnicker), Mary Palazzolo (Lulu Warnicker), Brent Teclaw (Coach Roger Dunbar), Maggie Mae Sulentic (Eleanor Dunbar), Josh Weisenburger (Lyle), Carter Bannwarth (Travis), Brittany Marie Wilson (Principal Harriet Clark), Dylan Rugh (Bickle), Jordan Leggett (Garvin), Luke Harger (Jeter), Josie AxelsonElizabeth CassidyEvan LattaNicholas Ohren, Callie RosenbaumMichael Hasenmueller and Rebekah Meyer.

645B8838.jpg
645B8847.jpg

The Link-Up, Vol. 1.

Welcome to the the link-up, a new Artistry feature where we share what the we're thinking about, loving on, and going to this month! 

The Edina Art Fair will feature Artistry teaching artist Ann Solsyt (Sarah Beggs' May pick). 

The Edina Art Fair will feature Artistry teaching artist Ann Solsyt (Sarah Beggs' May pick). 

FROM RACHEL DALY (Director of Visual Arts) It's Art-a-Whirl weekend! Join me at this great Twin Cities tradition, where the artists and makers of Northeast Minneapolis open their doors for the largest open studio tour in the country (plus, you can buy affordable art, sample beers and food from local breweries and restaurants, and there will be live music!). Make sure to stop by Leslie Barlow's studio in the Northrup King building if you go - it'll be a great preview of her upcoming exhibition at Artistry, Two/Too, opening June 21!

FROM BILL RONCHACK (Audience Services Manager) The show next season I'm getting the most questions about is definitely William Finn's quirky, witty musical A New Brain. Don't write off this life-affirming show as you're considering season tickets. Here's a great video about the inspiration behind the show, and an in-depth interview with Mr. Finn himself.

FROM LEAH HUGHES (Senior Director of Operations & Community Partnerships) Corey Wade, a teacher at Bloomington's Hillcrest Community School (a frequent Artistry program partner) is nominated for a national teaching award. Way to go, Corey!

FROM SARAH BEGGS (Education & Volunteer Program Manager) I can't wait to hop over to our next-door neighbors in Edina for the Edina Art Fair (running May 31 - June 2). I'm especially excited to see what Artistry teaching artist Ann Solyst has this year!

FROM BEN MCGOVERN (Producing Artistic Director) Why isn't there more overlap between musical theater actors and straight play actors? At Artistry, we frequently cast actors in both. Read an interview from Broadway's Brandon Uranowitz about why actors get pigeonholed. 

FROM ANDREA SPECHT (Executive Director & Chief Advancement Officer) Season Packages went on sale to new subscribers this week!  I want everyone to know that as I wrap up my nearly 10-year tenure at Artistry, I've already bought a full season package for 2019-2020. I'll be attending all our shows with my parents and a couple of their friends. See you at the theater!  

FROM DEVON COX (Marketing & Artistic Associate) Looking for a new place to grab a pre-show bite? I recently went to the unassuming, but delicious CoTu Oriental Cuisine (a quick nine blocks north on Penn Ave from the theater) and had a completely insane noodle salad. Plan on splitting -- the prices are modest, but portion sizes are off the hook! 

New Season Tickets and Single Tickets Now On Sale!

1920_Season.png

Save up to 20%, gain flexibility, avoid sell-outs, and make sure you never miss a show when you become a season subscriber. With full, partial, and choose-your-own package options, the time to become a subscriber is NOW! New season packages are on sale to the public starting today.

When you become an Artistry subscriber, you:
• Receive a discount of up to 20% on the shows in your package.
• Can change your show dates whenever and as often as needed, subject to availability.
• Have the opportunity to buy an unlimited number of individual show tickets at a special
subscriber price, all season long. Individual show tickets for the 2019-2020 season cost $46 for
adults and $41 for seniors, but as a season subscriber, you can purchase adult tickets for $43
and senior tickets for $38. Consider seeing a beloved show a second time, inviting friends and
family to join you at the theater, or giving Artistry theater tickets as gifts. You can use your
subscriber discount on individual show tickets in any of these ways.

Season packages start at just $111, and it's easy to buy them online. You can also call our box office at 952-563-8575, or stop by in person. We'd love to talk with you about our shows and answer your questions! 

For a full list of season package options, benefits, and prices, CLICK HERE.

Why This Year?

This year's shows are a mix of classic and contemporary musicals, carefully chosen for their heart, wit, and universally beloved scores. We're also pleased to present one drama, the heritage favorite Our Town, on the Schneider Theater stage. With a crackerjack creative team attached to each show (including Producing Artistic Director Benjamin McGovern), we can't wait to see each of these exciting titles come to life. Joining us as a subscriber means that you're committing to dynamic, thoughtful, high-quality theater in your community, and we rely on the support of patrons like you to keep us healthy and thriving for years to come!

Also, after 15 years, we are thrilled to announce that we have upgraded our ticketing software to an
industry standard product that offers many benefits to our patrons, regardless whether you
purchase tickets online or from our staff.

The software comes at a cost, and Artistry will join the ranks of nearly all other Twin Cities theaters
in charging a ticketing fee to help pay for it. Season subscribers will also receive a related benefit:
deeply discounted ticketing fees. Full subscribers will receive the greatest discount, and no
subscriber will pay more than $5 per package in fees – compared to $3 per ticket for individual show
tickets. In other words, there’s never been a better time to subscribe and save!

For a refresher course on each show, go here!

BUY SEASON PACKAGES

BUY SINGLE TICKETS

Box office: 952-563-8564

"Tinker to Evers to Chance" Opens This Saturday!

unnamed (1).png

Artistry is thrilled that the final show of our 2018-2019 season is Tinker to Evers to Chance, a regional premiere play from Mat Smart, a New York-based playwright who is a core writer at the Minneapolis Playwrights' Center. A moving story of family, friendship, and baseball, Tinker to Evers to Chance is directed by Brian Balcom and stars JoeNathan Thomas and Meredith Casey, two actors both new to Artistry.

Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance of the Chicago Cubs

Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance of the Chicago Cubs

"An obvious way to capture the immediacy of sports is to put sports onstage. Sports make us wonder—something theatre can learn from. We wonder: what is going to happen next? Who is going to win? Why do people still come to see Hamlet or Othello? Everyone knows how it ends. It’s the same reason the ESPN Classic channel exists. There are plays, there are games that transcend the “what is going to happen next” question. The how and why are so compelling, it keeps us glued to our seats. These are the classics." -  Tinker to Evers to Chance Playwright Mat Smart

Want to go more in depth? READ THE AUDIENCE GUIDE.

Carl Oltvedt Reflects on his Teaching Philosophy

“Spring Arrival,” acrylic, by Carl Oltvedt

“Spring Arrival,” acrylic, by Carl Oltvedt

“I am an artist and I am passionate about what I create in my studio work.  I am a teacher and I believe wholeheartedly in sharing what I know; part of the sharing is passing on knowledge, technical expertise and hopefully inspiration that being an artist is not only possible, but vital: vital to the next creator and also to those who experience what she/he has to share.  I often go to museums to visit “old friends”, which is a phrase coined by a dear friend and mentor of mine, Eric Erickson.  With each visit, the work has not changed, but I do; I see new relationships within the work and within myself.  I see strength and courage that I can lean on when I doubt or question myself in terms of direction.  Doubts and questions are a constructive part of growth where you look back within to find your path.  Hundreds of students have been in my classes during my career and I am proud to have had the opportunity to be a guide during part of their lives; becoming a professional in the arts is a difficult decision and path to follow, but seeing it as possible is imperative.  I have thirty-five years of full-time university/college level teaching experience and an additional six years of part-time teaching experience as a graduate TA and in community education. “

Carl Oltvedt works full-time as an artist in a variety of painting and drawing media. He retired from Minnesota State University Moorhead in May of 2015, where he was a Professor in the School of Visual Arts.  He continues to teach workshops and short-term classes in the region.  His work has been exhibited at Groveland Gallery in Minneapolis since 1978.

His paintings and drawings are included in numerous public, corporate, and private collections.  He has completed commissions for corporations and private collectors including Cargill Corporation, Minnesota Mutual, Securian Corporation, Microsoft, and the Laske family.  He was a recipient of Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grants in 2014 and 1991, and a Lake Region Arts Council/McKnight Artist Fellowship in 2002.

Rave Reviews for "Victor/Victoria"

victorreviews

The critics are raving about Artistry's production of Victor/Victoria, directed and choreographed by Michael Matthew Ferrell. Check out the quotes below and don't forget to get your tickets soon - they're going fast!

"Ferrell’s production is suffused with understated elegance...Victor/Victoria stirs the heart." - Rohan Preston, The Star Tribune

"Beautiful, thought-provoking, sexy, glitzy, and filled with marvelous jazz music." - Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page

"A sublime vehicle for its eponymous star...Ann Michels balances deftly between empowerment and doubt." - Dominic Papatola, The Pioneer Press

"Sizzle and style." - Arty Dorman, Talkin' Broadway

"Michels brings the house down." - Basil Consindine, Twin Cities Arts Reader

Artistry Instructor Erin Paradis is Recipient of 2019 Jerome Artist Project Grant

Erin Paradis, a well-loved instructor here at Artistry, is one of three ceramic artists to be awarded the 2019 Jerome Artist Project Grant. The Jerome Foundation “supports emerging professional artists who are the principal creators of new work, who take risks and embrace challenges, whose developing voices reveal significant potential, who are rigorous in their approach to creation and production…”

We couldn’t agree more with their decision… congratulations, Erin!

 
Dotty Pink Arms , earthenware, glaze, underglaze, by Erin Paradis

Dotty Pink Arms, earthenware, glaze, underglaze, by Erin Paradis

 

Erin Paradis is a ceramic sculptor, living and working in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  She received her MFA from the University of Minnesota and her BFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.  She has been a Visiting Assistant Professor and is currently a Lecturer in Ceramics and Sculpture at the University of Minnesota.  She has worked extensively as an artist, resident, and instructor at art centers and academic settings around the country including Odyssey Clayworks, Penland School of Craft, and Colorado State University.  She has traveled internationally and has shown work at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Lumsden, Scotland.  Paradis’ work is inspired by moments of uncertainty she experiences and how she gains clarity through encounters with seemingly ordinary structures, spaces, and objects in her daily life.  These moments are abstracted into her ceramic sculpture and composed into her installations.

Summer Camps are Open for Registration

summer-camp-group.jpg

Registration has opened for our Summer Camps program, running June 10 to August 9. Campers will spend the summer with talented Artistry teaching faculty exploring painting, pottery, acting, illustration, and much more! Options available for young artists going into grades 1 -9, find more information here.

Artistry Represented at Arts Advocacy Day

Artistry Executive Director and Arts Advocacy Day Team Leader Andrea Specht visited the state capitol on March 12 with a fierce team of over 700 advocates, educating our legislators about the importance of arts in the community.

Thank you to Minnesota Citizens for the Arts for organizing this incredible opportunity to inform our elected officials of the effect arts funding has on Minnesotans. And of course, thank you to all those that support the arts!

Arts Advocacy Day Team (including Artistry Executive Director Andrea Specht) with Rep. Michael Howard

Arts Advocacy Day Team (including Artistry Executive Director Andrea Specht) with Rep. Michael Howard

 
ArtsGiveBackMath.png
 

Alignable Recognizes Leah Hughes as Bloomington's Small Businessperson of the Year

After two months of nominations and voting, Artistry’s Senior Director of Operations & Community Partnerships, Leah Hughes, has been named Bloomington’s Small Businessperson of the Year by Alignable. Described by one user as “Facebook for small businesses,” Alignable is an online networking platform designed to help local companies build relationships and “increase buzz.” 

Over the last seven years, Leah has led more than ten-fold growth in Artistry's outreach programs, which now engage over 8,000 children and adults in arts experiences offered in collaboration with more than 130 community partners. Our partners include the Bloomington Public Schools (BPS), multiple county library systems, senior centers, and organizations that serve persons with disabilities, among others. Leah is a co-leader with BPS staff of our Kennedy Center-certified "Partners in Education" team.

We thank Alignable for recognizing one of our Artistry staff rock stars in Leah!

Senior Director of Operations & Community Partnerships, Leah Hughes

Senior Director of Operations & Community Partnerships, Leah Hughes

 

Artistry Receives Omar Bonderud Award for Human Rights

Artistry Board President Brian Prentice, Executive Director Andrea Specht, and Director of Community Partnerships Leah Hughes (foreground) join Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead and Human Rights Commission Chair Jared Leese (left) at the podium at the December 4 City Council meeting.    

Artistry Board President Brian Prentice, Executive Director Andrea Specht, and Director of Community Partnerships Leah Hughes (foreground) join Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead and Human Rights Commission Chair Jared Leese (left) at the podium at the December 4 City Council meeting.    

Artistry's community outreach program brings theater and visual arts experiences to thousands of people of diverse ages, abilities, and cultural and economic backgrounds. In recognition of our work to make the arts accessible to all, the City of Bloomington Human Rights Commission honored Artistry with the 2017 Omar Bonderud Award. This prestigious award recognizes our intentional efforts to engage and include underserved populations, including our partnerships with Bloomington Public Schools, arts education initiatives with senior citizens and persons with disabilities, Pay What You Can performances, "Next Generations" pricing for people aged 30 and under, and more. 

In an award presentation ceremony that included comments by Minnesota Commissioner of Human Rights Kevin Lindsey, Artistry was also lauded for working with the Bloomington Human Rights Commission to raise awareness and spark discussion, through art, about the experiences of children of immigrant parents. 

Artistry’s outreach program has grown from serving 575 people in 2010 to more than 7,000 in 2017. We are proud to be recognized for our commitment to arts access, humbled to join the list of more than 38 past Omar Bonderud Award recipients, and grateful to the individual and institutional donors who support our mission.    

Artistry Wins 2017 IVEY Award for "Emotional Impact"

Director Benjamin McGovern accepts the IVEY Award for “Emotional Impact” for his production of  Wit.  September 2017.

Director Benjamin McGovern accepts the IVEY Award for “Emotional Impact” for his production of Wit. September 2017.

The IVEY awards were an annual celebration of the best work produced in Twin Cities theater, awarding less than a dozen trophies each year to productions and individuals from the 80 participating organizations.

2017’s production of Wit, helmed by Artistry Producing Artistic director Benjamin McGovern, received IVEY recognition for "Emotional Impact.”. Wit, which starred Sally Wingert as Dr. Vivian Bearing, was hailed by critics as "sublime" and "simply devastating," and sold out its run in the black box theater.