After five years on the job, Smyrna Opera House Executive Director David Keller is leaving the small town stage for a new job in Wilmington.
In an economy where many non-profit and arts organizations are financially in the red or folding, Keller, along with the board of directors, created a strategic plan that has allowed the historic venue to thrive.
“When I started with the organization, it wasn’t in this shape but we wanted to get more professional so we started working on enhancing and improving a lot of our policies,” said Keller. “If we didn’t have a policy, we wanted to add it. We worked hand in hand with the board. I really think we’ve taken it to the next level as far as financial policies, operational policies and rental policies are concerned.”
Earlier this week, the town of Smyrna, which owns the opera house, extended its lease for another 25 years.
“I think we’re in a good place for the next person to come in and really jump start it and take it to the next level with their plans,” said Keller.
Keller’s official last day is Nov. 7 and the board is actively looking for a new executive director to continue the progress.
“We’ve already started the search for a qualified and talented executive director,” said Judy McKinney-Cherry, president of the Smyrna-Clayton Heritage Association Board of Directors. “We’re so grateful. David gave us five years of service and positioned us well for the next phase of the opera house.”
Cherry said they’ve posted the job on job search sites such as Monster, Indeed and Linked In. They’ve also reached out to the Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and the State of Delaware Division of Arts website.
“We’re looking for someone who of course, has a passion for the arts, for the performing arts as well as the visual arts, and then has with that passion, also has experience in organizational management, strategic planning, the ability to manage major donors, fund development and someone who has experience securing talent and programs,” she said.
The historic opera house was opened in 1870 and features professional programs as well as local productions and concerts throughout the year. A calendar of events is available on their website.
Interested candidates can send their resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.