News Column

Strand Center hires executive director

June 3, 2014

By Robin Caudell, The Press-Republican, Plattsburgh, N.Y.



June 03--PLATTSBURGH -- Jessica Dulle, new executive director of the Strand Center for the Arts, is two weeks into her relocation from her native Missouri.

This is her first foray in the Northeast, and she is liking the energy she finds here.

"Over the last 10 years or so in my career, I have had jobs in arts councils, museums and theaters, but I haven't had the opportunity to actually take on more of like an arts complex," Dulle said.

"So when I saw the position, I submitted an application and contacted the board president, Leigh Mundy, and kind of asked her a little bit about where they were in the phase with the restoration and what they wanted to do.

"I liked the idea ... of a complex here with the arts."

The Strand Center for the Arts comprises the Strand Theatre and North Country Cultural Center for Arts.

NATIONAL SEARCH

Previously, Dulle was executive director of the Capital City Council on the Arts in Jefferson City, Mo.

She has a background in arts administration and holds a bachelor's degree in theater with a film and broadcasting minor from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Mo. She also has an Master of Business Administration in general management from Stephens College in Columbia, Mo.

The Strand's board conducted a national search for candidates with theater and arts-management experience.

"We got over 20 applications from all over the country and one from China," Mundy said. "Some of them were not quite the caliber we wanted, so we narrowed it down.

"There were 10 high-quality candidates who could be at any theater or museum in the country. It came down to personality, and (Dulle) had everything we needed."

SEES LOCAL ENERGY

The challenge of the position appealed to Dulle.

"There is a lot of room for growth," she said. "I like the idea of it being at the stage where it is right now, and there's a lot of creativity.

"It seems there is a lot of energy here in the North Country to get the theater-restoration project finished but to also start having performances in there.

"I thought it was a great opportunity for me, career wise, to be on the ground floor of getting some real neat things going here in the North Country."

Dulle hit the ground running.

"And I had a fantastic time getting to know what's going on with the restoration phase, meeting the board and the staff, the architect," she said.

"Now, we're just in the phase (where) we got our charter, so we are now merged together officially as the theater and the arts center."

EYE ON MARKETING

Dulle's colleagues are Kathleen Recchia, decentralization-grant coordinator; Aimee Baker, education coordinator; Christina Elliot, gallery coordinator; and Laura Perras, staff assistant.

"We're actually looking to hire a part-time marketing and events person to help us, so that Aimee can start doing more (education) programming with the theater and performing arts," she said.

"Now with our new charter, we're re-branding, and with these new fundraising events, we need more staff."

She is in the midst of grant season. Once that ends, her focus shifts to programming.

"I've met already with a couple of groups that have seasons, and they are looking at the Strand Theatre as a place to call their home so we have music and theater performances there.

"The Strand Theatre will also do its own presenting. So, we will be looking at programs that we can bring into Plattsburgh."

LOCAL DELIGHTS

Dulle hasn't tasted North Country culinary inventions yet, though she knows what a michigan is.

"He (her father) researched some of the things to do and places to go eat -- He said, 'You have to get a michigan.'"

Professionally, she wants to tap the energy that has fueled the restoration project thus far and move forward.

"We're looking to really provide programming so people in the Plattsburgh area and surrounding area don't always feel like they have to go a long distance to get entertainment," Dulle said.

Her experiences around the country -- in Missouri, Texas, Illinois and Florida -- are assets.

"It's nice to have someone from a different area with different experiences," Mundy said.

"I think she will fit in great. Everybody she meets, she fits right in."

Email Robin Caudell:rcaudell@pressrepublican.com

TO CONTACT WHO: Jessica Dulle, executive director. WHERE: The Strand Center for the Arts, 23 Brinkerhoff St.Plattsburgh. PHONE: 563-1604. EMAIL: director@plattsburgharts.org

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(c)2014 the Press-Republican (Plattsburgh, N.Y.)

Visit the Press-Republican (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) at pressrepublican.com

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Source: Press-Republican (Plattsburgh, NY)


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