Mendel Center director selected to join Emerging Leadership Institute class

Published 9:27 am Friday, November 2, 2018

BENTON HARBOR — Grace Kelmer, director of The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College Mainstage, has been selected to participate in the Association of Performing Arts Professionals’ 18th class for the Emerging Leadership Institute.

ELI is an intensive two and a half-day seminar that takes place Jan. 2 to 4, 2019. It seeks to develop critical leadership skills for emerging performing arts professionals. Each year, a new cohort is selected to participate in ELI and attend APAP|NYC, from Jan. 4 to 8, 2019, APAP’s annual members conference held in New York City.

“Bringing people from diverse professional backgrounds together in a space where they can learn from each other and grow as leaders in the field is, without a doubt, one of the most meaningful aspects of the program,” said Krista Bradley, APAP director of programs and resources. “We are providing a forum for these emerging leaders to grow by expanding their individual perspectives and networks, which can lead to creating positive change within their organizations and the performing arts field as a whole.”

Grace Kelmer

Approximately 25 participants are selected from across the country each year from a wide pool of applicants. Participants work directly in the presenting and touring field which includes, but is not limited to, performing artists, presenters, managers, agents, producers, and professionals who work for arts councils or service organizations. ELI is an opportunity to engage in new professional relationships, discuss new ideas, and become part of an expanding network of over 400 ELI alumni.

“ELI is one of the highlights of my year because of the participants. They are bright, creative, and incredibly gifted people in the performing arts field. From their essays included with their application for the program, we get a glimpse of the brilliant thinking and leadership skills that these upcoming new leaders already possess. And throughout our three days together, their intelligence and energy are confirmed over and over again,” said Theresa Holden, co-facilitator of the ELI program. “As a veteran in our field, having benefited from so many years of my own APAP membership, I also relish knowing that the friends and colleagues these participants will meet during ELI will mean much to them for years to come. These new leaders and APAP’s support of them are indeed a gift to our field.”

Kelmer joined The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College in 2014 shortly after graduating with a masters of business administration and master’s degree in arts administration from the University of Cincinnati. She also holds a bachelor of arts degree in music and German from Illinois Wesleyan University. She has eight years of experience in arts marketing, grants, program coordination, and front of house management. She is responsible for the patron services team of staff and volunteers, ticketing, and coordination of grants and fundraising including oversight of the Arts Factor program.