Following an intensive search, the Smith Center for the Arts has named Susan Monagan, Audience Services Supervisor in the Department of Theatre Arts at Ithaca College, as its Executive Director, beginning September 2017.
“All of us on the Search Committee viewed this appointment as a prime chance to launch The Smith into a new era of importance for the entire Geneva region,” says Kelby Russell, chair of the Search Committee. “After bringing in many different voices and points of view from our community, we were thrilled to find a candidate as well matched as is Susie for the opportunities in front of The Smith.”
In her position at Ithaca College, Monagan has mentored students in the Theatre Arts Management B.S. degree program as they gained practical experience promoting events and running front of house operations for Ithaca College Theatre’s main stage productions.
She also created and led a unique study abroad opportunity in Galway, Ireland wherein students attended and helped produce dozens of theater, film, music, art, and dance events throughout the city, working side-by-side with Irish theater and film professionals.
During Autumn 2013, Susan used a Fulbright grant to work with the Creative Edge project team at NUI Galway (Ireland) studying the current breadth and future scope of the creative economy in rural areas.
She was a project team member of Cornell’s New York Creative Economy research project that explored the potential of creative economy initiatives in upstate New York. Seeking strategies for community and regional development, the group links the arts and the creative process to a wider range of economic activities. She continues to consult with upstate rural communities pursuing creative economy strategies.
Active in the Ithaca arts community, Monagan served on the Board of the State Theatre of Ithaca for six years, and represented Arts and Culture on the Tompkins County Strategic Tourism and Planning Board. She has degrees from Dartmouth College, Cornell University, and Ithaca College. She and her husband, Richard Guttridge, have two grown sons.
“The Smith can be a catalyst for creativity in the region, hosting films, speakers, festivals and performances that delight and inspire us all,” says Monagan. “The link between creative activity and economic development is well established, and the Smith has a leading role to play in bringing visitors to the region, developing home grown talent, and contributing to the overall ‘buzz’ of downtown Geneva.”
Mitchell Wilber, Interim Chair of the Board of Directors, says the Board looks forward with enthusiasm to Monagan’s role in directing the Smith Center for the Arts. “After an intensive search process that challenged the organization to examine its strategies and goals, her experience, qualifications, and excitement for the position personified the leadership the organization was seeking. She will be an impressive addition to the talent pool that is advancing the quality of life for our residents and visitors as they enjoy what unfolds on the stage and screen at the Smith.”
Jan Regan, a Geneva-based photographer, served as Interim Executive for the past year while the search was in progress. She will return to her role as Chair of the Board of Directors when Monagan begins in her new position.
The Smith Center for the Arts is committed to providing and maintain arts and educational opportunities for Finger Lakes residents and visitors while maintaining its historic home, the Smith Opera House.