For immediate release
July 20, 2006
Cordell Haymon, Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge Chairman, 225-343-8262
Derek E. Gordon, new CEO of Arts Council, 225-344-8558
Arts Council Hires CEO
New Chief Among Nation’s Top Arts Leaders
Baton Rouge - Derek E. Gordon, among the top arts administrators in the country, is returning to his hometown to become CEO of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and serve as a catalyst for improving the quality of life through the arts in the region.
Gordon, a distinguished LSU alumnus, has worked for two of the most prestigious arts organizations in the nation over the past decade. His latest job was CEO and President of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York. Before that, Gordon was a Senior Vice President for the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
“Derek will guide the Arts Council in a time of exciting opportunity for the arts community and for Baton Rouge,” says Cordell Haymon, Chairman of the Council’s Board of Directors. “His experience at operating world-class facilities will help us expand arts in the capital, which has been blessed with the new Shaw Center for the Arts and a new energy surrounding the arts.”
At Jazz at Lincoln Center, Gordon was charged with overseeing all operations of the jazz program. He also managed the opening and operation of Frederick P. Rose Hall, a three-venue, 100,000-square-foot space considered the premier jazz venue in the nation. At the Kennedy Center, he planned and managed jazz and education programming.
Gordon’s passion for the arts began as a child singing in the church choir. He has bachelor and master’s degrees from LSU in music, focusing on vocal performance. Gordon says he’s remained in touch with Baton Rouge, hoping one day to return and work with people who are helping the city prosper.
“I’m really touched by all that is happening in Baton Rouge, the new Shaw Center for the Arts among them. I think it’s a good time to apply some of my experiences to my hometown,” says Gordon.
Gordon begins working September 5 at the Arts Council. The Council’s programming includes Arts Education, FestForAll, the Baton Rouge Arts Market, Community School for the Arts, Art & Business Fusion, and Grants. The Arts Council also provides administrative support for the Community Fund for the Arts, a united arts fund drive. Katherine Scherer, the Arts Council Interim Executive Director, will work with Gordon as Deputy Director of the organization.
He will connect with the leaders of local arts organizations, then work with them to assemble the next step for the arts community here. “I want to bring the community together to see what the second act will be for Baton Rouge,” he says.