Long Center CEO Resigns
After four years, Jamie Grant leaves Austin for St. Paul
By Robert Faires,
12:44PM, Tue. Jan. 12, 2016
The man who spearheaded the drive to make the Long Center for the Performing Arts "Austin's creative home" is now leaving that home. Jamie Grant, President and CEO for the Long Center for the past four years, has resigned to take a similar post at a similar facility in Minnesota.
Austin's loss will be St. Paul's gain, as Grant will be heading up I-35 to run the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in that city. Considering that Grant came to Austin from Kitchener, Ontario, this new post will put the native of Canada much closer to home (and out of Austin's triple-digit summers). And with the Ordway presenting and producing a blend of theatre, dance, music, family events, and educational programming in two performance spaces (one with 1,900 seats, one with 1,100), the venue will be right up his alley.
In the Long Center press release announcing the move, Board Chair Patsy Woods Martin says she will be sad to see Grant go, and you can see why. When Grant arrived in Austin in the fall of 2011, the Long Center was only three years old and finding its place in the community. Grant pushed to find ways in which Austinites of all stripes would find something to make them feel at home in the center, and along the way brought Jimmy Kimmel Live! into Dell Hall for a week of broadcasts during SXSW, partnered with promoters Nederlander Concerts and TAG Presents for an ongoing series of concerts on the Long Center’s terrace and lawn, collaborated with the Alamo Drafthouse on a series of outdoor screenings, and built up the center's community events such as Trailer Food Tuesdays and Bubblepalooza. The results have not only boosted attendance at the Long Center during Grant's tenure but helped keep the venue in the black financially since 2012.
Grant also put a focus on education and outreach to young people, importing from Ontario his EYEgo to the Arts program, providing $5 tickets to any Long Center event for area high school students, and sponsoring the Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards, in partnership with Zach Theatre and the UT Department of Theatre & Dance, in which more than two dozen area high schools compete for awards in theatre excellence. Marc Seriff, a longtime Long Center trustee who only recently joined the staff as Vice President of Special Projects, will step into the leadership role as interim President and CEO while a search is undertaken for a permanent successor to Grant. Seriff credits Grant with creating "a culture of success" during his time in Austin. "The job of our search will be finding the right person to fit that culture and continue the amazing momentum that Jamie has built.”
Grant will remain with the Long Center through early April. For more information, visit www.thelongcenter.org.