Living Arts Education nonprofit names Detroit native as its next leader

Living Arts has appointed Laura Scales, a member of the Honors Faculty in the Department of Theater at Michigan State University, as its new Executive Director effective June 1.

Scales, who served as production manager for MSU’s theater department, succeeds Alissa Novoselick, who signaled her departure late last year as part of the organization’s plan to move to more representative leadership and had served as Interim Executive Director.

Scales’s appointment follows a five-month search by a search committee of parents, artist teachers, staff and board members working with the Boston-based executive search firm, Koya Leadership Partners.

The leadership transition began after nearly a year of strategic discussions between the board, staff and community stakeholders, with financial support from the Kresge Foundation and the WK Kellogg Foundation.

A native of Detroit, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from DePaul University, Scales brings 17 years of professional stage and production management experience. Prior to joining MSU in July 2018, she held the position of Production Manager for the University of Chicago Theater and Performance Studies Program and the Chicago Performance Lab.

While in Chicago, Scales also served as production manager for Emerald City Theater Company, where she oversaw both main stage and touring productions. She was the production management apprentice at the Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago. His stage management highlights include roles as resident stage manager at the Dorset Theater Festival in Vermont and stage manager for the Human Festival in Chicago.

“As an artist, small business owner and production manager, Laura’s transferable skills form the ideal foundation for a director of the arts,” said performing arts board chair Matt Nahan in a statement. Press release.

“Her experience of managing, budgeting and working closely with artists, producers and institutional stakeholders to bring a creative vision to life on stage and in schools makes her the perfect fit to lead the next one. phase of the performing arts. “

Living Arts’ 40 artist teachers work with schools, organizations, and communities to provide high-quality arts education experiences for young people in Detroit aged 3 months to 18 years old.

Named Crain’s Best Managed Nonprofit of 2019, it operates on a budget of $ 1.1 million.

Coming out of the pandemic, Scales said in the press release that it will be more important than ever for these students to have creative outlets.

“Having lived this year, I can’t imagine living it as a youngster,” she said. “We’re here to help them process this year and unravel it through art and expression. I want them to dance it and draw it. I want them to write about it, sing about it. , illustrate it, and I think Living Arts is uniquely qualified to help students do this – not just in southwest Detroit, but throughout the metro area. “

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