Ordway Center for the Performing Arts Names Jamie Grant as New President and CEO

January 14, 2016

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Ordway Center for the Performing Arts Names Jamie Grant as New President and CEO

SAINT PAUL, Minn. (Jan. 12, 2016) — The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts announced today that its board of directors has selected Jamie Grant as the organization’s next president and CEO. Grant is expected to assume the new role in the spring. He succeeds former Ordway President and CEO Patricia A. Mitchell, who retired at the end of 2015 after eight years in the position, but has agreed to extend her term to assist in the transition.

“Patricia Mitchell has given us terrific momentum at the Ordway with the opening of the beautiful new Concert Hall, the continued strengthening of the Arts Partnership and a renewed commitment to producing musical theater work. We had to find just the right person to build on her achievements,” said Robert Cattanach, chair of Ordway’s board of directors. “The Ordway undertook a comprehensive national search, and I was very impressed by the number of extremely well-qualified candidates who were genuinely excited about the opportunity to lead the Ordway going forward. In that sense, we faced the challenge of selecting the best of the best. Jamie’s strong experience, great personality and impressive leadership ability actually made our job a bit easier in the end. There’s no doubt in my mind that Jamie is the right person for this job.”

“Jamie’s credentials are impressive, as he has successfully led the operations and growth of almost a dozen theaters and performing arts centers in Canada and the U.S.,” said Laura McCarten, vice chair of the Ordway’s board of directors and co-chair of the search committee. “His reputation as one of the best in the industry precedes him. But, it was his strategic thinking, passion for the arts, community spirit and new vision for the Ordway’s future that really made him stand out in our eyes.”

“That Jamie is a great fit for the Ordway will become obvious as he is introduced to the community. Although reflective and thoughtful, his enthusiasm is contagious and certainly energizing,” added David Lilly, co-chair of the search committee and former chair of the Ordway board. “We’re confident that he’s going to not only embrace the culture of the Ordway, but reinvigorate it in new ways. We’re very fortunate to have him on our team.”

“The Ordway is nationally recognized for its outstanding programming, world-class resident companies, the Arts Partnership and education initiatives, and is set in the heart of one of the most robust arts communities in the country” said Grant. “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining this incredible team of community leaders and professionals to continue to grow the value of the Ordway to the Twin Cities.”

With more than 30 years of experience, Grant is highly respected in the arts management world for his strategic thinking, community building and operational expertise. He is currently the president and CEO of the Long Center in Austin, Texas, having been hired in Sept. 2011 after an extensive international search. Grant’s leadership has led to a huge increase in annual attendance, new programs and a significant growth in fundraising and corporate sponsorship results. Under his direction, the Long Center has grown to become an artistic focal point and cultural hub of Austin.

Prior to joining the Long Center, Grant spent 13 years as the general manager of the Centre in the Square (CITS) in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, an award winning, multi-purpose performing arts center with a 2,000 seat concert hall/theater, art gallery and studio. During his tenure at CITS, the venue became and remained debt and deficit free, with working capital and an endowment fund.

Grant has built a reputation for positively transforming the community perception and understanding of the value of the arts. He was the recipient of the 2009 Community Leader of the Year Award, as presented by the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce. He is the 2007 Association of Cultural Executives (ACE) Award winner (Canada’s version of the National Cultural Executive of the Year) and is a 2003 Kitchener-Waterloo Arts Award Winner.

A leader and innovator in the performing arts profession for many years, Grant was a founding member and chairman of the board of Canada’s national theater festival — the Magnetic North Theatre Festival. He helped to found “eye-GO to the Arts,” a program designed to encourage youth to attend the performing arts, and was the founding chair of the organization. eye-GO, which began in Kitchener-Waterloo, has now become a national program in Canada and has seen success in states throughout the U.S.

Grant has made a career of opening and operating new performing arts centers. He was the first general manager of the Imperial Theatre in Saint John, New Brunswick; helped to open the Heritage Theatre in Brampton, Ontario; was the general manager of Skylight Theatre in Toronto during its inaugural season; and was the founder and producer of Theatre Malton.

An adjunct lecturer at the University of Waterloo, Grant taught for almost a decade at the Centre for Cultural Management and is a regular lecturer, panelist and guest speaker for multiple universities, colleges and professional conferences.

Grant and his wife, Christine Bird, along with a dog and cat, will be re-locating to the Twin Cities in April.



The Ordway is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading nonprofit performing arts centers and Saint Paul’s most elegant and inviting performance space. The Ordway’s Music Theater and Concert Hall attract diverse audiences with an array of productions showcasing the finest in American musical theater, world music, dance and vocal performance. Education and community engagement are integral to the Ordway’s mission, with major initiatives including the annual Flint Hills International Children’s Festival and Ordway Education programs that serve more than 50,000 students annually. The Ordway also serves as authorizer for the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, a charter high school with a professionally guided academic and artistic environment that trains aspiring pre-professional performing artists. Together with Minnesota Opera, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and The Schubert Club, the Ordway is a member of the Arts Partnership and serves as the principal venue for their performances. For more information, visit www.ordway.org.

Ordway Center for the Performing Arts — 30 years of presenting, producing and investing in the performing arts.