Centrum Hires MacElwee as Executive Director

Centrum today announced the selection of John MacElwee (mack-ELL-we) of Sonoma County, Calif. as its new Executive Director.  MacElwee, who has been in the field of arts management for over 25 years, was selected from a field of 45 applicants from across the United States.

Centrum Board President Libby Reid stated “We are delighted to find a person of the caliber of John MacElwee.  He is the perfect fit for our organization, and will provide the strong leadership needed in such challenging times as these.”  A former employer, Detroit Symphony Chairman Emeritus, Peter D. Cummings, describes him as “the best non-profit marketer I ever worked with”.

“I am thrilled to join Centrum at this critical juncture in its nearly 40-year history,” said MacElwee.  “I look forward to working with Libby Reid and the Board as well as the staff in not only in ensuring that the organization’s acclaimed programs for aspiring and established artists remain strong, but also in looking ahead at all the collaborative possibilities both at Fort Worden State Park and in Port Townsend, which, together, comprise a truly magical corner of the world.”

He is expected to begin his tenure with Centrum in April.

MacElwee will follow Thatcher Bailey, the last Centrum Director, who has moved into a new role, in cooperation with Washington State Parks, to develop an expanded vision for the Fort Worden State Park and Centrum as a Life Long Learning Center.

MacElwee’s career started 25 years ago in the field of marketing, fundraising, and community relations for symphony orchestras, including the Pacific Symphony in Orange County, Calif., later with the Houston Symphony, and then with the Detroit Symphony, where he served as Vice President for Marketing and Communications. During his tenure in Detroit where he brought tickets sales to their highest levels, MacElwee also initiated two new community based jazz programs as part of the orchestra’s outreach programming. He later moved to the directorship of the Arts Council of Sonoma County, where he worked with a broad array of community arts programs.

MacElwee also has extensive experience in the performing arts and community development consulting field, where most recently he was lead consultant in developing the business plan for the $120 million Green Music Center at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif., scheduled to open in 2011.  He currently serves as an organizational consultant to the Healdsburg, (Calif.) Jazz Festival and served in a similar capacity with the Santa Rosa Main Street Association.

Throughout his management career, MacElwee has continued to perform as a bass player with varied jazz ensembles, as well as orchestras and bluegrass groups.  Following his undergraduate degree from Lawrence University (Wisc.) with majors in music and government, he continued his string bass studies with the late Homer Mensch of the Juilliard School of Music in New York City.

Centrum is now in the 36th year of presenting arts workshops, festivals and K-12 education programs at Fort Worden State Park. These include, among others:  The Young Artist Project, Artist Residencies, The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Jazz Port Townsend, Port Townsend Writers Conference, and The Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival.

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