Aalberts Named Executive Director of Center for the Arts

Joel Aalberts has been selected as executive director of the Eastern Kentucky University Center for the Arts.

The appointment was announced after a meeting of the Center’s Community Operations Board on Wednesday, July 17.

Aalberts has served as performing arts director of the Bloomington (Ill.) Center for the Performing Arts since 2009, directing all activities for the 1,200-seat restored historic theater and managing a $3.2 million budget. From 2006 to 2009, he was marketing and communications director for the Bloomington Center. He has 19 years of experience in arts administration, working in executive management, event planning, marketing and communications management.

"Joel made a striking impression on the Community Operations Board during his visit as a finalist,” said Harry Moberly Jr., chair of the Board. “It quickly became apparent that he had the presence, talent, enthusiasm and experience to be an outstanding leader for the Center. The Board felt that Joel is a person who will interact well and bring an exciting new level of engagement between the Center and the people of our community and region. With Joel at the helm, prospects for the Center are truly bright and aspirational. He and his family will be a valuable and welcome asset to Madison County.” 

As performing arts director at the Bloomington Center, Aalberts also supervised a staff of nine full-time, 60 seasonal and 175 volunteer employees, programmed an annual 45-show series of touring artists, and oversaw more than 425 building activities annually.

Aalberts, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Iowa in 1992, was recognized by the Bloomington Pantagraph in 2008 as a “20 Under 40” honoree, recognizing those under the age of 40 who made a difference in the community, achieved significant career accomplishments, and showed a likelihood of future success. He also is an avid marathon runner.

“The Community Operations Board identified two excellent candidates,” said EKU President Doug Whitlock, “and I concur with their choice of Joel Aalberts. I truly believe he will add an even higher level of excellence to what we have come to expect from the center. I appreciate what (Interim Director) Jill Price and (Executive Assistant to the President) Skip Daugherty have done in the interim, and look forward to great things from Joel.”

The EKU Center’s 2013-14 season, its third, includes performances by Chicago, Dwight Yoakam, “Weird Al” Yankovic and LeAnn Rimes, as well as stage productions of “Rock of Ages,” “Mamma Mia,” “The Addams Family,” “Flashdance The Musical” and “Man of LaMancha,” among dozens of other presentations.

The season opens on Sept. 13 with a performance by The Spencers Theatre of Illusion, described as modern-day Houdinis, blending theatrical elements of Broadway with rock-concert energy.

For a complete schedule as well as ticket information, visit ekucenter.com or call 859-622-SHOW or 1-855-EKU-SHOW (358-7469). The Center’s box office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In addition to its 2,100-seat Grand Hall, the EKU center also features a black box theater with seating up to 250.

The EKU Center for the Arts is located just off Exit 87 of I-75, across the Eastern By-Pass from the University’s Alumni Coliseum.

Published on July 18, 2013