Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center: Gram Slaton, Executive Director


THE WESTHAMPTON BEACH PERFORMING ARTS CENTER WELCOMES

GRAM SLATON AS ITS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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Now in its twentieth year of operation, the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center is pleased to announce the hire of Gram Slaton, who joins the organization as its new Executive Director. In his new role, Slaton will be charged with overseeing the programming, administration, fundraising, strategic planning and overall operation of the Center. Slaton was selected at the conclusion of a thorough national search conducted by the Arts Consulting Group.

“One of the things that excited me most about the Center was the amount of investment the entire Westhampton Beach community has put into it, and not just financially” says Slaton, “it’s relatively easy for a town to get amnesia after twenty years, but everyone here still remembers a declining downtown from the mid-1990s and recognizes how essential the creation of the performing arts center has been to realizing a full 180 turnaround and establishing Westhampton Beach as a great tourist and second-home destination.  The civic pride in the Center is just stunning.”

Mr. Slaton comes to the WHBPAC with almost twenty-five years’ experience as an Executive Director of several successful performing arts organizations across the country, most recently, the 1,007 seat Grand Opera House in Macon, Georgia. There, he oversaw the strategic planning, financial management, community projects and fundraising for the theater, instituting best practices across the board and ultimately ushering in the on-going conversion of the organization into a fully sustainable, cash-positive community resource. Prior to that, from 2005-2014, Slaton had great success running the iconic Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, CO. There, he was fundamental in maintaining the city’s status as the premiere winter sports destination during the 2008-2011 national recession, through the creation of unique events, series, and festivals. This coupled with a theatrical background, has made Mr. Slaton the ideal successor to the WHBPAC’s much beloved, Clare Bisceglia.

“Throughout my career, I’ve been a builder or rebuilder of performing arts centers far and wide.  Which means WHBPAC is something of an anomaly to me, because there is absolutely nothing broken about it,” Slaton says in regards to his predecessor, “Clare has given it a brilliant first twenty years or so, which all of us in the business recognize as the toughest task imaginable.  She has selected perhaps the most team-oriented staff I’ve ever experienced, where every member is uniquely talented. So what I hope to bring to the table is an ability to see the theater for what it is now, and discern what it needs to be twenty years hence, and work with the team to build a road to get there.”

Together, with his experience as an Executive Director, Slaton is credited with producing and programming several highly publicized and successful festivals, including: the Rooftop Comedy/Aspen Laff Festival, the MountainSummit: Mountainfilm in Aspen, a documentary & advocacy festival, and the 7908 Aspen Songwriter’s Festival. He has programmed thousands of shows with hundreds of acts across every genre, working with some of the biggest names in show business, including: John Oates (Hall & Oates), Faith Hill, David Brenner, Michael Bolton, Jeff Foxworthy, Jon Anderson (Yes), Burt Bacharach, and Barry Manilow. Additionally, he has been responsible for prospecting and securing critical commitments in media, corporate sponsorships and private fundraising across his various venues of employment.

“Today we first say thank you to Clare for leaving this a better place and we say welcome to Gram whom we look forward to watching replicate his amazing success at the Wheeler Opera House and deliver to the WHBPAC a new vision and a brighter future” says James Kuhn, WHBPAC Board member and Head of the Executive Search Committee.

“We’re truly fortunate to have identified such a highly experienced and enthusiastic individual” says Dr. Stanley Zinberg, WHBPAC’s Chairman of the Board. “We are confident in Mr. Slaton’s abilities and the passion he possesses, to further drive the theater’s success.”

Likewise, Mary Skillern adds, “As President of the Board, I am pleased to welcome Gram as our new Executive Director. Gram’s prior experience is similar to our needs and goals to continue the theater’s status and reputation within our community.  I look forward to introducing him to all of you.”

Gram Slaton officially assumes his position as Executive Director of the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Monday, July 16th.

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The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center is a year-round, community-based, not-for-profit 501(c)3 arts organization, founded in 1997, that serves patrons on the East End and beyond. We are a vibrant venue committed to providing a greater understanding and appreciation of the arts and meeting the cultural aspiration of the area by: Presenting world-class performing arts, music, dance, comedy and cinema from around the world; Providing premier arts education programs to the widest and most diverse audiences, regardless of socio-economic status; & Contributing positively to the local economy and enriching the community’s quality of life. For more information, visit www.WHBPAC.org.

ACG is the leading provider of hands-on interim management, executive search, revenue enhancement, facilities & program planning, and organizational development services for the arts and culture industry. ACG consultants are located in communities throughout North America to best serve the needs of our clients. For more information, visit www.ArtsConsulting.com

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AAQ Resource: McDonough & Conroy Architects

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