Janesville82°

JPAC appoints new director

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Catherine W. Idzerda
October 30, 2008
— More than four years ago, Emily Gruenewald attended a United Arts Alliance meeting in Janesville.

“It was at the point where the performing arts center was about to open,” Gruenewald said. “I remember thinking that it was really exciting; it was really great the way the community had come together for the arts.”


Starting Nov. 10, Gruenewald will become a crucial part of arts community as the new director of the Janesville Performing Arts Center.


Gruenewald replaces Laurel Canan.


Canan, who has served as director for the center’s first five years, is leaving Janesville for Ohio. She enthusiastically supports the board’s choice of Gruenewald as her successor.


“She’s going to be wonderful,” Canan said.


JPAC’s board picked Gruenewald for her arts administration and fundraising experience and her enthusiasm for the job, said Lisa Stevens, board president.


Most recently, Gruenewald served as the executive director of the Madison Youth Choirs, where she helped develop the organization’s identity and culture following a 2003 merger between the Madison Boychoir and the Madison Children’s Choir.


During her time with Madison Youth Choirs, enrollment increased 75 percent. Gruenewald helped the organization match expanded interests with funds.


Gruenewald started her career in arts administration with the prestigious University of Minnesota-Guthrie Theatre BFA Actor Training Program. She also worked with the Children’s Theatre of Madison.


Gruenewald and her family live in Newville.


For the first several months on the job, Gruenewald hopes to meet with user groups, patrons, board members and even people who haven’t come to JPAC.


“I want to talk with them about their perceptions of the center, what their dreams for the future are, ” Gruenewald said. “This is a place for everyone.”


Gruenewald credited Canan with doing “amazing work.”


“It’s senseless to try to fill her shoes,” Gruenewald said. “I don’t plan to make any major changes—I’m going to fine tune things; to continue to make the center a place for the community.”



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