Executive Director Of Storytelling Arts Of Indiana Will Retire

The position is to be posted this month with a closing date of January 31, 2024.

By: Nov. 30, 2023
Executive Director Of Storytelling Arts Of Indiana Will Retire

Indiana's premier organization for the preservation and promotion of stories is about to begin a new chapter, but first must pay homage to its legendary first act and the individual who has been one of its main authors and most dynamic protagonists. Ellen Munds is retiring from her role as executive director of Storytelling Arts of Indiana on June 30, 2024.

Since taking the helm in 1996, Munds has accomplished some amazing feats, but ever-humble, remains quick to point out she's had lots of help. She developed three series, “Sharing Hoosier History Through Stories,” a collaboration with the Indiana Historical Society, “If These Walls Could Tell” with Indiana Landmarks, and the “Frank Basile Emerging Stories” that includes a fellowship program. Munds and others knew some of the stories from the series should be immortalized on the page, so they developed two books, “From Stage to Page: Stories from the Frank Basile Emerging Stories Fellowship” in 2022, and the “If These Walls Could Tell” anthology this past March.

“Our success has always been the result of our partnerships,” Munds said, citing the monthly Indy Story Slam, Life Stories Oral History Project, and “Hear Our Stories: The Life and Afterlife of Incarceration,” a storytelling program for former offenders that aims to change community perspective on the process of re-entry. Most recently, Munds has forged new partnerships with the Avondale Meadows YMCA, Armed Services Arts Partnership, Marian University, Phoenix Theatre & Cultural Centre, and Renaissance School, a non-traditional educational center in Warren Township.

Producer, author, creator...Munds has worn many hats. She has organized countless As I Recall Storytelling Guilds and brought the Annual Liar's Contest to the Indiana State Fair. She launched storytelling programs at 15 summer day camps for kids around Marion County and one at a local children's hospital to comfort young patients at their bedsides. Most recognizably for fans of professional storytelling, Munds has scouted and booked the world's best storytellers for SAI's Signature Series, bringing them to the Basile Stage at Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center season after season.

“Ellen has changed the landscape of our community through her tireless devotion to sharing and spreading the art of storytelling," said SAI Board President Eric McKeown. "Her work is deeply appreciated and will be deeply missed, and as a board, we will seek to ensure that the organization continues to honor and expand on the deep legacy of storytelling that Ellen has built.”

The board of directors, under the leadership of Michele Goodrich of the DBD Group, has given significant thought to the succession and hiring process for the new executive director. The position is to be posted this month with a closing date of January 31, 2024. The plan includes a transition period with the new and outgoing executive director, as there are no staff to manage the day-to-day operations and programs while the new executive director learns the job.