Skrzesz is a longtime arts advocate and performer with more than 25 years in arts education
BALTIMORE, MD (September 20, 2017) – Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill joined today with Maryland State Arts Council Chair Shelley Morhaim to announce Ken Skrzesz as the next executive director of the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), an agency of the Maryland Department of Commerce. A longtime arts advocate and performer with more than 25 years in arts education, Skrzesz will take on his new role in mid-October, following the six-month tenure of Julie Madden who held the position in an interim capacity.
“After a national search and meeting with a number of very qualified candidates, we are pleased that Ken Skrzesz will be leading MSAC and bringing to the role his passion and dedication for the arts and arts education,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “A performer for many years, Ken has an outstanding reputation within Maryland’s arts community and we are looking forward to his new ideas on how we can continue to grow and promote the arts in Maryland.”
Gill added, “I also want to commend the excellent work of our interim executive director Julie Madden. She worked closely with MSAC Chair Morhaim and the Board to ensure that MSAC continued to further its important mission of advancing the arts in all regions of Maryland. Julie has been a longtime arts advocate and we look forward to continuing to have her as our trusted partner in promoting the arts and arts organizations.”
A certified dance and theatre instructor for grades 6 through 12 in Maryland, Skrzesz has designed and implemented arts education and professional development programs with a special emphasis on underserved populations. Ken most recently worked as an educational program supervisor and coordinator of fine arts for the Maryland State Department of Education. He previously served as the executive director of Clear Space Theatre Company in Rehoboth, Delaware for eight years. He has a bachelor’s degree of fine arts in dance from Towson University and a master’s of fine arts in dance from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.
“In my travels across Maryland, I have seen example after example of the role the arts play in creating jobs, building communities, and elevating the spirit,” said Skrzesz. “I look forward to supporting the efforts of every artist and arts organization to utilize their talents to connect people, and to connect people to innovative ways of thinking.”
“I have had the pleasure of knowing Ken through his work with the Maryland State Department of Education’s Arts programs and know that he will be a great addition to the Maryland State Arts Council, where he will nurture new ideas and programs in the coming years,” said MSAC Chair Morhaim.
“Ken Skrzesz is a strong leader who will help advance our vibrant arts and culture across the state of Maryland,” said Peter Kjome, president and CEO of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. “Ken is a great choice as the council continues to foster the artists and arts organizations that help spur innovation and growth by contributing to Maryland's tremendous quality of life.”
“As a presenter in Maryland's far western county, I have been so impressed by the leadership that Ken provided to bring the community arts presenters into partnership with Maryland educators,” said Mary Callis, executive director of the Garrett Lakes Arts Festival. “This working relationship helped to open many opportunities throughout our state to better serve our children by reaching them more effectively through the arts.”
Skrzesz was selected by a committee convened by Maryland Commerce made up of representatives from the Maryland State Arts Council board, the Maryland arts community, Maryland Commerce, and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, which has programs to promote arts and entertainment districts in the state.
About the Maryland State Arts Council
MSAC is a part of the Department of Commerce. MSAC encourages and invests in the advancement of the arts for all Marylanders. Its grants and programs support artists and arts organizations in their pursuit of artistic excellence, ensure the accessibility of the arts to all citizens and promote statewide awareness of arts resources and opportunities. To carry out its mission, MSAC awards grants to not-for-profit, tax-exempt organizations for ongoing arts programming and projects. The MSAC also awards grants to individual artists, and provides technical and advisory assistance to individuals and groups. For more information, visit www.msac.org
About Maryland Commerce
Maryland Commerce stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State's many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. Since they are major economic generators, the Department also supports the arts, film production, sports and other special events. For more information, visit commerce.maryland.gov.