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New Clemens Fine Arts Center Director Named at WKCTC

Brian Heller may be new to the west Kentucky community but he has a strong belief in the importance of community. Officials at West Kentucky Community and Technical College announced the hiring of Heller as the Clemens Fine Arts Centers new director.

Heller, who officially started October 30, said he is eager to help bring more people from the community onto the WKCTC campus. The more people you can bring onto campus for different things, the better it is for everyone, he said.

A native of central Illinois, Heller succeeds Gail Robinson-Butler who retired as center director in July after nearly 30 years at the college. He last served as the executive director of the Al. Ringling Theatre in Baraboo, Wis. Heller has more than 20 years of theatre experience and has worked at performing art centers and historic theatres in Pennsylvania, Washington, DC, and Minnesota.
Heller, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a masters degree in arts administration, originally studied music as an undergraduate at Millikin University. It was while he was at the Decatur, Ill. University that Heller took his first job as a tech crewmember at a local theater, working sound and lights.

I had been a performer and on the stage as a kid, so I transitioned from being a performer to supporting the work of the artists in other roles; first as a technician, and later as an administrator, enabling the work of the artists, Heller said. Im a facilitator.

Heller comes to Paducah after spending over four years as executive director of the Al. Ringling Theatre. Heller said one of the main differences between his previous theatre and the Clemens Fine Arts Center lies in the support systems available at WKCTC that were not available at his previous job. The theatre was a small non-profit historic theater in a rural community in Wisconsin.

Heller said the work of securing acts for the performing arts series and other events at the Clemens Center will be similar to what he previously did at the Al. Ringling Theatre.
The father of three, Heller said he is also interested in building a relationship with new audiences, but also with WKCTC students, faculty and staff. I would like the center to be a resource for faculty, staff and students, Heller said. In keeping with the colleges mission, I would also like to see the Clemens Center support businesses in the community.

The next performance at the Clemens Fine Arts Center will be the singer-songwriter Jenny Johnson as part of Backstage Pass Saturday, November 14 at 7:30 p.m. General admission is $5 at the door.

For more information about the Clemens Fine Arts Center visit http://www.artsinfocus.org or call 270.534.3212.