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The Smith Names New Executive Director

The Smith Center for the Arts

The Smith Center for the Arts in downtown Geneva has named a new executive director. Susie Monagan will join The Smith beginning in September. For twelve years, she’s been with the Department of Theatre Arts at Ithaca College. Monagan is an active member of the Ithaca arts community as well including the Board of the State Theatre. She says that live performance is important in a time when there are a lot of divisions in society and people are feeling isolated from one another.

“I feel that that experience of getting together and being with others when a show is going on. Sharing with strangers feelings and sharing a message that an artist is bringing to the stage, it’s just critical that we have that happening right now and that we do that together.”

Kelby Russell is a Smith board member and chair of the search committee. He says Monagan seemed an ideal candidate beyond her obvious qualifications.


“The thing that really sold us on Susie and made us so excited for her was her passion for making The Smith the home for the Geneva community. When we started the process we had a great emphasis on bringing community voices into the search process, not just internal board voice. We really learned some hard lessons that away about what The Smith was doing right and what it could be doing better. When we interviewed Susie we found someone who was really passionate about continuing what we were doing right, but really beefing up what we should be doing better.”

Jan Regan served as Interim Executive Director over the past year. She will return to her role as Chair of the Board of Directors when Monagan begins her new position.

Kelly Walker started his public radio career at WBAA in West Lafayette, Indiana in 1985 and has spent some time in just about every role public broadcasting has to offer. He has spent substantive time in programming and development at KWMU in St. Louis, WFIU in Bloomington, Indiana, and Troy Public Radio in Alabama before his arrival in Geneva, New York. In addition, his work has been heard on many other public radio stations as well as NPR. Kelly also produces The Sundilla Radio Hour, which airs Sundays at 1 p.m. on Finger Lakes Public Radio and is distributed to public radio stations all over the country through PRX.
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