November 17, 2016 – Executive search firm Arts Consulting Group (ACG) has recruited Sarah Wilke as executive director of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Most recently, Ms. Wilke held the position of managing director at On the Boards, a contemporary performing arts organization based in Seattle.
Throughout her 12-year tenure there, she was responsible for the organization’s day-to-day operations and long-term strategic management. The organization received numerous awards, including a 2015 Fractured Atlas Arts Innovation Award for OntheBoards.tv, a 2013 William Dawson Award from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters for Programmatic Excellence and Sustained Achievement in Programming, a 2011 Mayor’s Arts Award, and a 2006 Stranger Genius Award for Outstanding Arts Organization.
Prior to joining On the Boards, Ms. Wilke was managing director at Consolidated Works: A Contemporary Arts Center in Seattle, associate curator at Tacoma Art Museum, and public information specialist and curatorial assistant at Arthur M. Sackler Gallery/Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian Institution.
“On behalf of the entire SIFF board of directors, we couldn’t be more pleased that Sarah has agreed to leave a job she loves in order to join SIFF as its new executive director,” said Brian LaMacchia, president of SIFF’s board of directors. “This is an exciting time for our organization; SIFF is experiencing consistent upward growth and we are about to conclude another record year. The board looks forward to supporting Sarah as she continues SIFF’s mission to bring the best of the world of cinema to Puget Sound and beyond.”
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“I have been incredibly lucky in my life that I have been able to be in places that I love working, in areas that are engaging intellectually to me,” said Ms. Wilke. “I am very excited to get to join SIFF, a strong organization I have enjoyed as an audience member since moving to Seattle in 2001. I look forward to furthering SIFF’s role within the film community in Seattle and beyond.”
“Congratulations to SIFF on the appointment of Sarah Wilke as executive director,” said Rebekah Lambert, vice president of Arts Consulting Group. “Sarah’s unique artistic and cultural background makes her the ideal leader to advance the organization. Her dedication to and knowledge of the Seattle arts and culture industry will play an instrumental role in SIFF’s future success, both locally and within the film industry at-large.”
Arts Consulting Group is a provider of interim management, executive search, revenue enhancement consulting, facilities & program planning, and organizational development services for the arts and culture industry. It has identified senior level leaders for similar organizations, including Long Beach Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Chicago Opera, Stockton Symphony Association, and Portland Baroque Orchestra. The firm has offices in Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Halifax, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Tampa, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.
Just recently, Arts Consulting Group completed the executive director position for Marathon Center for the Performing Arts in Ohio by recruiting Heather Clow to the organization’s top post. Ms. Clow has been part of the leadership team of the Lebanon Opera House in Lebanon, NH for the past 15 years.
Turning to Executive Search Firms
Other film and music organizations have been turning to executive search firms in recent months to find new leaders. Here’s a look at just a few:
- Howe-Lewis International has recently been chosen by the Sundance Institute to lead its search for a new chief advancement officer. Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, the Sundance Institute seeks to discover, support, and inspire independent film and theatre artists from the U.S. and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work.
- Korn Ferry placed Michael Murphy as president of Shea’s Performing Arts Center. Shea’s Performing Arts Center is a theater for touring Broadway musicals and special events in Buffalo, New York. Originally called Shea’s Buffalo, it was opened in 1926 to show silent movies and boasts one of the few theater organs in the U.S. that is still in operation in the theater for which it was designed.
- DHR International recruited Gabriel van Aalst as president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO). He was previously CEO of The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Named “a vital, artistically significant musical organization” by The Wall Street Journal, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra embodies that vitality through its statewide presence and critically acclaimed performances, education partnerships and unparalleled access to music and the Orchestra’s superb musicians.
- Greenwich Harbor Partners placed Liz Ritzcovan as a member of the board of directors at The New York Pops. She is the sixth director to be placed on the Pops board by the Greenwich, Conn-based search firm. The New York Pops is the largest independent pops orchestra in the U.S., and the only professional symphonic orchestra in New York City specializing in popular music.
- Spencer Stuart recruited Jenny Krueger as executive director of The Sun Valley Summer Symphony. The Sun Valley Summer Symphony, now in its 32nd season, convenes more than 100 world class musicians from North America’s most distinguished orchestras, including the San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, New York Philharmonic and Houston Symphony, in Sun Valley, Idaho.
- Isaacson, Miller placed Paul Hogle as the new president of the Cleveland Institute of Music. VP Sheryl Ash and principal Rebecca Swartz led the search with associate Randi Alberry. Since its founding in 1920, the Cleveland Institute of Music has offered world class education to students from age three to 93.
- Koya Leadership Partners placed Charles Grode as president and executive director of the Merit School of Music. The Merit School is a non-profit organization that provides music education to underserved communities.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media