The Washington Center For The Performing Arts

celebrates new executive director and more

A sense of celebration surrounds the 2013-2014 season at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia. Part of the reason is a remodel that includes a new facade and marquee, but the community also celebrates the introduction of new Executive Director Jill Barnes. She is delighted to see strong financial support from the city plus an infusion of over $800,000 from the state’s Building for the Arts fund.

“This support says a lot about what our impact is in our region,” Barnes said. “I’m new here, there’s a great staff and it seems like it’s a new era. Everyone is very excited about the developments and everything that’s going on.” She sees the theater as a “jewel” in downtown Olympia, showcased by recent upgrades to the building. But no jewel could out-sparkle the enthusiasm Barnes radiates.

Her vision for the future includes her two main passions, which are education and the theater’s financial security. Barnes appreciates the center’s 27 artistic partners and said, “They do an amazing job of providing education opportunities and performances to our schools and to the community. I’m hoping to work in tandem with them and our school districts.” Greater financial security for the theater will be met by increasing earned income from ticket sales and facility rentals as well as contributed income, which includes donations, grants and sponsorships.

Barnes has nearly 12 years of experience in arts administration and a broad range of experience in marketing, programming and development, most recently at a theater in Idaho Falls, Idaho. As soon as she arrived, she began meeting people and making connections in the community that she, her husband and children now call home.

“I’m so thrilled to be here,” Barnes said. “We took a leap of faith and we’re very happy to be here.”
CANDACE BROWN