Beverly Arts Center names first artistic director
BY STEVE METSCH email@example.com April 21, 2014 4:18PM
Shellee Frazee has been named the first artistic director of the Beverly Arts Center. | Supplied photo
Updated: May 23, 2014 6:20AM
Shellee Frazee is excited about her new job and hopes to make the Beverly Arts Center more popular than ever.
She has been named artistic director of the arts center, 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago.
“Heather and I will be working very closely to coordinate things here,” she said Monday, referring to Heather Ireland Robinson, the center’s executive director. “The idea is to try to make everything we do cohesive and building forward in a positive direction. We’ll be looking at concerts, the school of the arts, and the programming.”
While Frazee, 55, is the first artistic director ever for the Beverly Arts Center, she has worked as an instructor and coordinator of the center’s dance and theater programs since 2009.
She and husband Brad moved to Chicago in 2008 from the Quad Cities, where she started the Center Stage Performing Arts Academy in Davenport, Iowa.
Brad is the head electrician at the Arie Crown Theater, and the couple enjoy life in Chicago.
The arts center has “huge potential,” she said.
“Our goal is to move forward in a positive direction and offer as much as we can to the community and the area even outside of our neighborhood,” she said. “We definitely want to expand and broaden our horizons. I’m excited because this position will allow us to put more time into that.”
A grass-roots fundraising effort has helped the Beverly Arts Center in recent months, and organizers have said it could be debt-free later this year.
“Everything feels energized and exciting, and I’m looking forward to what’s going to come here the next couple of years,” Frazee said.
“I have a friend I worked with for years and he always joked that he surrounded himself with brilliant people and that’s why he was so good. That’s my goal. I’m going to surround myself with brilliant people,” she said. “I already have many; first and foremost is Heather, and all the coordinators coming in.”
Frazee said she wants all of the programs at the arts center to stand on equal footing.
“Our ultimate aim is to create two tracks here: a casual one for people who want to sample a particular arts discipline and try things out, and a more regimented option for serious students who want to pursue their creativity to a professional level,” she said.
In a prepared statement, Robinson said arts center officials “were attracted to Shellee’s remarkable depth and breadth of experience and passion for the arts. From performing to directing, from administration to relating with the families of our students, she really does possess the complete vocabulary of arts education, creation and production.”
The Beverly Arts Center is a nonprofit focused on serving the Southland with programs in dance, visual arts, music, film and theater since 1968. Its 40,000-square-foot facility houses galleries, classrooms, rehearsal spaces and a 400-seat theater. It also functions as home base for the center’s extensive community outreach.