DHR International Places Senior Executives in Four Major US Arts Institutions

March 11, 2019

James Abruzzo and the Nonprofit Practice of DHR International recently completed searches for senior executives at four leading arts and cultural organizations:

  • Executive and Artistic Director, Onassis Foundation USA
  • President and CEO, Tennessee Performing Arts Center
  • Executive Director, Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center
  • Senior Director, Finance, Apollo Theater Foundation

Vallejo Gantner has been appointed Executive and Artistic Director of Onassis Foundation USA, in New York City. OFUSA extends the mission of the global Onassis Foundation, headquartered in Athens, Greece, to American audiences. As Executive and Artistic Director, Vallejo is responsible for overseeing the funding of cross-disciplinary and contemporary projects that explore direct and experiential approaches in art, culture, and education into practice and that help shape social change across borders. Vallejo brings to the role over 20 years of arts curation and funding experience, most notably as Artistic Director of Performance Space 122 in NYC from 2005-2017. PS122 is a vital cross-disciplinary arts institution that premieres new works and debuts artists with sustainable support mechanisms. Vallejo transformed this organization by leading a $40 million renovation of the facility, enhancing the producing and development systems within the organization, and creating innovative ways of artistically engaging audiences. Vallejo also sits on the board of Myer Family Investments, a private investment company in Melbourne, Australia.

Jennifer Turner has been appointed President and CEO of Tennessee Performing Arts Center. She succeeds Kathleen O’Brien who is retiring in July following 14 years as head of the arts center and 31 years at TPAC. Jennifer arrives from Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA, where she served the $64 million arts center for six years, most recently as Executive Vice President and Managing Director. In this role she was responsible for general operations including personnel and organizational development, human resources, capital projects and strategic planning, education and community engagement. She also oversaw the major renovation and now programming of the plaza project.  Jennifer has twenty years of demonstrated success at performing arts organizations, including Auditorium Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Michigan Opera Theatre. As President and CEO of TPAC, she will guide the board as they contemplate a variety of long-range master plan options while ensuring the organization continues its excellent reputation for arts programming and educational outreach and balancing a $25 million-plus operating budget.

Gillian Gordon has been appointed as the inaugural Executive Director for Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center. This nonprofit cultural organization is being built on the site of a former well-known, iconic movie theater in Sag Harbor and will be a state-of-the-art facility featuring three theaters, a locally sourced café and bar and facilities for rentals and events. The mission of the Center is to create and operate a new art film house and cultural center on the East End of Long Island that will present independent, foreign, and documentary films, offer related educational programming and engage people of all age groups. Gillian is the perfect person to lead this new nonprofit organization, having grown up in the East Hamptons and spent her entire career in the film industry. Gillian has over twenty years’ experience producing film and television. She also has prior Executive Director experience, leading Youth Culture TV, an educational and media training charity for marginalized young people, from 2003-2005. Since 2006, Gillian has been with Royal Holloway University of London, teaching, designing curriculum, managing staff, and overseeing enrollment for this highly challenging, first-class graduate program in Producing Film and Television. She begins her new role in July.

Kelly McKaig is the new Senior Director of Finance at the Apollo Theater in New York City. This past year DHR International recruited Aldo Scrofani, a Broadway producer and former COO of Columbia Artists Management Incorporated, to the position of Chief Operating Officer of the Apollo. As the Apollo prepares to open two new theaters and embarks on a broader building expansion campaign, DHR International recently completed the search for a Senior Director of Finance. Kelly comes to the Apollo from a similar position at Symphony Space, a pre-eminent multi-disciplinary performing arts center in New York City, where he managed the organization’s overall $6.5M budget and finances. Kelly, who holds a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Brown University and an MBA from Georgetown University, previously served as Managing Director for Chez Bushwick, an organization co-founded by choreographer Jonah Bokaer, dedicated to the advancement of interdisciplinary art and performance with a strong focus on new choreography. Kelly began his career working in film production for 15 years.

DHR International’s Nonprofit Practice recruits senior executives to arts and cultural organizations as well as serving the other fields with the broader nonprofit field. We are noted for our ability to hire top executives in a timely fashion and provide value-added services to boards and executives. Our mission is to “improve the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations worldwide.”

You can find more at www.dhrinternational.com and can download the white paper Negotiating the Nonprofit CEO Contract. You may also contact James Abruzzo or Phil DeBoer at DHR International.