Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 3, 2013

PAC board hires new director

Marquis set to take over for Kathy Setterman

Kenneth Hart
The Independent

ASHLAND — The Paramount Arts Center’s board of directors has chosen the successor for the center’s longtime executive director.

Bruce Marquis of Bloomington, Ill., has been hired to replace Kathy Setterman, who is retiring at the end of the year, said Bruce Leslie, chairman of the PAC board and of the committee formed to search for Setterman’s replacement.

Marquis’ official start is Dec. 9, but he will be in Ashland several times over the next weeks to shadow Setterman, get a feel for his new job and help ensure a smooth transition, Leslie said.

Since 2009, Marquis, 50, has been principal of Marquis Arts Consultants, an arts-management firm that provides strategic, organizational, aristic, branding and audience development planning services to nonprofit cultural organizations. Prior to that, he served as executive director of the Bloomington Cultural District for seven years. Among the projects he oversaw during that time was the $15 million redevelopment of the city’s historic Scottish Rite Temple into a performing arts center.

In a telephone interview Friday, Marquis, who also worked at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, said his love of historic theaters was one of the main factors that sparked his interest in the Paramount job. Another, he said, was his fondness for small cities and for the Tri-State, with which he said he was familiar from having attended Ohio University. Marquis earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the school.

Marquis (pronounced Marr-kwiss), a Chicago native who divided his childhood between the Windy City and Washington, D.C., where his father worked as a public broadcasting executive, also said he had always been enamored of the bonds performing arts centers share with the communities and they serve, and how they are “touchstones” for the people who live in those communities.

During is career in the arts, he said “One of the criteria I have always looked at is whether the organization and the community are poised for growth and whether there is growth potential. The Paramount Arts Center is at a point where we can really look at a strategic plan for the future on how we can extend our educational programs, how we can attract new audiences and how we can make sure we’re relevant to everyone in the Tri-State.”

Marquis said he knew he was stepping into some big shoes taking over for Setterman, who has been the Paramount’s executive director since 1988, and that he was honored to have been chosen to follow in her footsteps.

Setterman’s major accomplishments included overseeing a massive renovation of the historic art deco theater that added a new stagehouse, dressing rooms, rehearsal space and a banquet facility in an adjacent building connected to the main theater. The renovation allowed for larger, more technically elaborate shows to be staged at the Paramount.

Marquis said he would be in Ashland this week, and that he anticipated his time would be evenly divided between transition meetings and finding a place to live.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.