HUDSON VALLEY SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL HOSTS ANNUAL GALA, ANNOUNCES NEW MANAGING DIRECTOR
GARRISON, NY (October 27, 2022) – In honor of its first successful season at The Garrison, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (HVSF) hosted a celebratory gala on October 16 to recognize long-standing supporters Sandy Galef, Assemblywoman 95th A.D., and Richard Feldman, President & CEO, SHS Foundation. The evening also served as a festive introduction to the nonprofit’s newest leader, as HVSF announced that Kendra Ekelund will begin her tenure as managing director on November 7.
“As we approach year-end, there is so much to celebrate for HVSF,” said artistic director Davis McCallum. “Our first season in our new home has given us a renewed sense of excitement about HVSF’s bright future, and now we have the thrill of welcoming Kendra, a seasoned leader and performing arts aficionado, as our new managing director. I know her passion and expertise will be indispensable to our success, and I am honored to partner with her as we continue to evolve as an organization.”
Ekelund joins the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival following her most recent post as general manager of the Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC) in Pleasantville, NY, where she managed the organization’s finances, capital projects, human resources, cinema operations, technology, and systems. During her tenure, the JBFC welcomed over 200,000 visitors annually and expanded its theater facility from three to five screens. She also improved the organization’s financial sustainability, took a leadership role in strategic and master planning, and helped form and manage their Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) committee. A community-focused arts leader, Ekelund’s nonprofit management work centers around inclusion, accessibility, antiracism, and financial sustainability, with a deep commitment to empowering and uplifting artists. She is a lower Hudson Valley native, raised in Ossining, NY. She lives in Mohegan Lake with her husband Bryan and their son, Alexander.
The search was conducted by the Tom O’Connor Consulting Group, a prominent executive placement firm in the arts sector. Ekelund will replace Interim Managing Director David J. Roberts, whose 20 years of expertise in performing arts helped guide HVSF through its time of transition following former Managing Director Katie Liberman’s departure in August.
“I am honored and overjoyed to be joining HVSF. As an audience member, I have been endlessly inspired by HVSF’s classical yet timely productions in breathtaking natural settings, which bring us outside of ourselves and open our hearts to be connected to shared human experiences,” said Ekelund. “It is an absolute privilege to partner with Davis McCallum to build a strong foundation for HVSF to thrive in its new home. There’s so much to look forward to in this new season of growth, and I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work with their incredible community of staff, board members, artists, and supporters.”
In addition to Ekelund’s announcement, the evening featured performances by HVSF conservatory company members Will Ormsby Cary and Roman Alec Trevino and composer, actor and writer Alex Bechtel, plus cocktails, dinner, and a live auction to benefit the nonprofit theater company. The auction raised over $90,000. All event proceeds will directly support the organization’s onstage productions, arts education programming and community engagement initiatives.
“This evening was a celebration of new beginnings,” said Robin Arditi, board chair of HVSF. “After a national search attracting an impressive slate of qualified candidates, we have fantastic new leadership joining our team and a successful season to reflect on. We’re thrilled to continue planning for our future in tandem with the incredible community here in Philipstown.”