Tuesday, May 29, 2012

MCA welcomes new managing director

WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts welcomes new managing director Joelle Harris.

Harris was selected from a pool of candidates through a national search this spring. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies with a minor in vocal music from Capital University and a Master of Arts in Arts Administration and Non-Profit Management from the University of Akron. She previously served as the executive director of Columbus Children’s Theatre.

Harris will assume the position of managing director on June 1, following the departure of current director, Christine Martin. Martin has been involved with MCA since 1995 and has served as the managing director for the past 13 years.

“It has been an honor serving the students of MCA and our community,” said Martin, “I am so proud to have been a part of the program development over the years.” Martin will continue to teach in the dance division at MCA and serve as an advisor to the school through the Friends of MCA board.

The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, a non-profit organization, began in 1973 in a one-room studio under the direction of Stefannié Valéncia Kierlin; it was then known as The Ballet School. Today, MCA offers a full spectrum of performing and visual arts, nurturing and encouraging artistic expression in hundreds of children and adults in Southeastern Minnesota.

“We here at the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts and at Saint Mary’s owe Christine Martin a huge debt of gratitude,” said Michael Charron, dean of SMU’s School of the Arts. “For the past 17 years, she has not only kept Stefannié Valéncia Kierlin’s dream alive, but has advanced Stefannié’s vision of creating a comprehensive center for the arts, providing excellent training for people of all ages and walks of life. We’re also very excited about the talents and abilities Joelle Harris brings with her. She will continue to carry out Stefannié’s artistic vision into the future.”

For more information about MCA, visit www.mnconservatoryforthearts.org or call (507) 453-5500.