Saratoga ArtsFest names new executive director

With more than 20 years of leadership and management work in both non- and for- profit environments, Mary Ellen O'Loughlin will be executive director of Saratoga ArtsFest for the 2011 event, which will run from June 9-12.

O'Loughlin, of Wilton, joined Saratoga ArtsFest in September 2009 as promotions manager, later serving as a consultant to the board in strategic planning. In her new role, she will work closely with the ArtsFest board, community organizations and local volunteers to organize the annual four-day arts celebration, and also work toward sustaining it in the coming years.

One of my primary responsibilties focuses on executing the festival, but also deploying a strategic plan that the board approved this past June, said O'Loughlin. "Over the next couple years, we will focus on ways to grow the arts audience as well as foster partnerships and community relationships."

Details and specific events, artists or other such components of next year's festival have yet to be fully developed, said O'Loughlin, but should be set by early 2011.

"Programming is always an exciting piece and is in development now, so I'm not sure where that's going to land yet. We will have a better idea by February," said O'Loughlin. "We're taking a look at that now and going through marketing processes and a plan to better define exactly how we will do that."

O'Loughlin said there are two key skills she will bring with her from her former position to her newest one.

"One thing I learned was the benefit of informed decision making and how to go about setting measurable, specific goals with data; and how to collect and interpret that data," said O'Loughlin. "Technology is another thing. I think the arts industry as a whole is really starting to take a look at technology and different ways to maximize the way that our community is using it to interact."

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