EKU searches for new arts center director

Board planning to hire before facility opens

rcopley@herald-leader.comJanuary 5, 2011 

When the Center for the Performing Arts at Eastern Kentucky University opens later this year, it will not be under the guidance of its original executive director.

Katherine Eckstrand has resigned from that post to move back to Ohio and attend to family health issues, according to Robert Rogow, chair of the center's board of directors. Eckstrand did not respond to several requests for comment, relayed through the university, Monday and Tuesday.

A national search for Eckstrand's successor is underway, and Rogow said the position will be filled as soon as possible. Eckstrand, whose previous job was director of community development for the Ohio Arts Council, was hired in the fall of 2009.

"We are at a very important point in our development and programming with the building to be completed by late summer or early fall," Rogow said.

The performing arts center, adjacent to EKU's business and technology center on the south side of the Eastern By-Pass, will be in the same league as area venues such as the University of Kentucky's Singletary Center for the Arts and Centre College's Norton Center for the Arts.

It will include a 2,000-seat theater capable of presenting full-scale Broadway-style touring productions and most other music, theater and dance performances, as well as a black box theater that can seat 250 people.

"We see this facility as being second to none in our area," Rogow said. "We expect it will compete very well with other facilities in our area."

Most of the exterior work on the center is done, he said, and the focus of construction is now on interior work, including installing seating.

And the center now needs a new director.

The job had been posted in more than a dozen places for a month, Rogow said, and applications were due Monday. The search committee received more than 25 applications from across the country and will begin sorting through them immediately, he said.

The center is expected to present performances by international touring artists, EKU artists and groups from the Richmond and Berea areas. Rogow said no open date or programming had been scheduled yet.

"That will be the job of the new director," he said.

Reach Herald-Leader staff writer Rich Copley at (859) 231-3217 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3217.

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