SOPAC Announces New Executive Director

SOPAC Announces New Executive Director

The Board of Governors of the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) today announced the appointment of Mark Packer as its new Executive Director in an executive search process guided by Arts Consulting Group. Packer will assume his official duties at SOPAC on March 1, 2013.

"I'm thrilled to be joining the team at SOPAC," says Packer. "It's an honor to soon be at the helm of what has become the cultural center of the South Orange-Maplewood communities as well as a cultural beacon for the state of New Jersey. This marks a new chapter for SOPAC and I'm excited to be playing a role in it."

Packer brings over 30 years of arts administration experience, significant fundraising acumen and an outstanding record as a leader in the New Jersey's cultural arts scene. As the long-time Executive Director of Appel Farms Arts & Music Center, he expanded the center to a year-round performing arts organization offering a diverse array of programming each year, with extensive community outreach programs in schools as well as therapeutic arts programs for the elderly, mentally challenged adults and families in crisis. Also under his leadership, Appel Farms assumed management and programming responsibility for the 700 seat Landis Theater in Vineland, NJ. In addition, Packer has played a major role in regional and statewide arts organizations including the South Jersey Cultural Alliance, ArtPride in New Jersey, and the Arts & Business Partnership of Southern New Jersey.

"SOPAC is extremely pleased and excited that Mark Packer has agreed to become SOPAC's new Executive Director," exclaims Tony Leitner, SOPAC Board Chair. "We could not have asked for a more experienced, passionate, professional and socially responsible leader. We are most impressed with his vision for artistic direction, prioritization of arts education, and belief that SOPAC is a truly valuable asset to the local community. We enthusiastically welcome him and his wife Laura to the SOPAC family!"

Packer replaces the Interim Executive Director Linda Onorevole, who will be returning to her initial position as SOPAC's Director of Development. She graciously replaced SOPAC's former Executive/Artistic Director Michael Bollinger in late-August 2012. Packer was selected after SOPAC engaged Arts Consulting Group, a national executive search firm specializing in arts and culture recruitments, to assist with the three-month international search process.

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