Janesville33.8°

New executive director looks to have people atwitter over JPAC

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
October 21, 2011
— The Janesville Performing Arts Center's new executive director wants to pump up the nonprofit's exposure through social media and create an internship program, among other initiatives.

JPAC announced that Elizabeth Isenberg, production coordinator at Ravinia Festival in Chicago, has accepted the position.


"She's a very bright young woman, and I think she's going to have a lot to offer Janesville and the surrounding communities," Betsy Riemer, JPAC Board president, said Thursday.


Isenberg worked at Ravinia for the past three seasons. She also has worked with a variety of arts organizations, gaining experience in grant writing, development and operations, according to the JPAC news release.


In addition to harnessing the marketing potential of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, Isenberg wants to increase grant funding, something she has experience in, Riemer said.


She also is interested in expanding volunteer opportunities, Riemer said.


Isenberg becomes the third director in JPAC's seven-year history. She begins work Monday, replacing Emily Gruenewald, who left in July to become the UW-Whitewater director of development.


JPAC is located in the former Marshall Middle School auditorium, which underwent extensive renovations before it opened in 2004 inside what is now the Marshall Apartments building.


The operation offers a 650-seat theater where local music and theater groups can perform. It also hosts occasional touring acts.


Isenberg was selected from a pool of 40 candidates.


Community leaders, JPAC staff and board members interviewed her, according to the news release. She also attended the recent Docs Who Rock performance and spent time in the community.


Isenberg, originally from Mauston, is quoted as saying she had set a goal of moving back to Wisconsin, "and Janesville called out as a place I would like to call home. I instantly had a sense of community."


Riemer said she was not comfortable discussing employees' salaries. She said the director is the only full-time employee and that JPAC spends $85,000 a year for all salaries.


The JPAC board was unanimous in choosing Isenberg, according to Oakleigh Ryan, board member and chairwoman of the selection committee.


"Her recommendations were glowing, and she offers a breadth of experience both in performing arts operations as well as fundraising and project management," Ryan said in the news release. "More importantly, we believe she will bring energy and new ideas to JPAC, an important factor for us in selecting an ED."


Isenberg graduated from Northwestern University with a major in arts administration and music. She is working on a master's degree in business administration with a focus on non-profit administration.


"Her first priorities will be to focus on JPAC's operations, spending time with staff, volunteers and user groups," according to the news release. "She will also help kick off JPAC's annual campaign, Arts Angels, which contributes over 20 percent of JPAC's funding."



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