Mary Hilts Named New Program Manager

Mary Hilts

Centrum, Washington’s home for creative arts and education, has appointed Mary Hilts (pictured) to the position of Program Manager for the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival. Working with Artistic Director Daryl Davis and Centrum management staff, Hilts will support and manage artist faculty, and support planning and development for both the Festival workshop schedule and the Festival’s mainstage and club performance schedules.

Mary replaces longtime Program Manager Peter McCracken, who founded the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival in 1992, and is stepping down to concentrate on program management for Centrum’s Voice Works and The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes.

Mary is currently the Development Manager for Centrum, and has been responsible for organizing Centrum’s annual Gala fundraiser since 2004. In addition, she has managed the box office and coordinated sponsorship and scholarships, as well as handling some grant writing and donor relations responsibilities.

“We are very grateful for Peter’s vision and hard work in creating the Blues Festival,” said John MacElwee, Centrum Executive Director, “and we are excited to welcome Mary to this new role.  Her nearly ten years of experience with Centrum, her experience in managing a touring artist, and her own musical knowledge combined with her passion for the program made her the very best candidate for the position.”

A graduate of Washington State University, Mary also completed Jazz Studies at Shoreline Community College, and holds a degree in Music Performance from Los Angeles Harbor College. Prior to working at Centrum, she was in artist relations and management, coordinated booking and promotions, as well as contract negotiation, public relations, and tour management.

“I have had the extraordinary opportunity to participate in the Blues Festival, and watch it grow over the years,” said Hilts, “and I am honored to lend my passion and experience toward helping preserve and protect the great history of the blues at Centrum and beyond.”

The Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival celebrates the tradition of acoustic blues and the masters who create and preserve those traditions – through workshops, jam sessions, and public performances in and around Port Townsend, WA.  For more information, visit the home of the blues at Centrum at