NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Pamela Dewell – director@operahousearts.org

DATE: February 22, 2024
TITLE: OPERA HOUSE ANNOUNCES EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

STONINGTON – Opera House Arts has named Erika Sanger as its new permanent Executive Director beginning April 22nd, replacing Pam Dewell whose one-year term as Interim Executive Director expires this spring.

The Chair of Opera House Arts’ Board of Directors, David Stephens, said, “We are very excited to welcome Erika this spring and look forward to the many talents and non-profit management experience she brings to our organization. Pam Dewell is leaving the organization with a robust year-round program in place and many ‘all time bests’. Our entire organization is grateful for her success this past year and her commitment to ensuring a seamless transition to Erika’s leadership.”

Sanger joins Opera House Arts from the Museum Association of New York where she has served as the leading ambassador and advocate for museums in New York. Over the past seven years she has worked with the board and staff to double membership and earned income, and raised over $2.5M to directly support the needs of museums. “I am honored to be named as Executive Director of Opera House Arts and look forward to working with the staff and board of directors to advance this organization that plays such an important role in Stonington and Deer Isle’s cultural life.”

Not a stranger to the island community, Sanger said “My husband John Vasquez and I bought our house on the west side of Stonington in the summer of 2019, but the pandemic brought about so many changes. We couldn’t make all the pieces of our lives fit the move until now. I look forward to being on the Island in April to learn all the ways in which the Opera House attracts visitors and serves the community, and to see the daffodils bloom and the ospreys return to their nests.”

Opera House Arts will soon announce three professional theater events for this summer, one a world-premiere of an original work, made possible by funding from the Anahata Foundation and other long-time supporters of the organization. These will fill out a summer season which includes concerts, blockbuster movies, and Live For $5 events, the popular family-friendly variety acts series underwritten by the WF Whitman Foundation.

Prior to her position with the Museum Association of New York, Sanger had a twelve-year tenure as the Director of Education at the Albany Institute of History & Art and gained her professional experience through positions held at other arts organizations including the New-York Historical Society and the Brooklyn Museum in New York and the Asheville Art Museum and Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. Programs produced under her direction have received funding from major private foundations and state and federal agencies including the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. Sanger holds a B.F.A. from Clark University, in Worcester, MA, and an M.A. from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Sanger went on to say, “I am passionate about helping organizations achieve their goals by igniting engagement with arts and theater-based experiences in and with the community. I am known for persevering in the face of adversity, leading authentically, living my values while letting others live theirs, and sharing my expertise generously.”

Opera House Arts, a 501 [c] [3] nonprofit organization, was founded in 1999 to restore the 1912 Stonington Opera House, on the National Register of Historic Places, and its original purpose as a performance space and community cornerstone. Professional theater, movies, variety acts, music and dance, educational programs, and special events are offered year-round. Hancock County students are invited to attend live performances for free thanks to the generous supporters of Opera House Arts.

For more information or to subscribe to advance notice of shows and events, please visit the Opera House website https://operahousearts.org 

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Erika Sanger

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