On the heels of its 20-year anniversary, the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center has brought on Gram Slaton as its new executive director, taking the reins from Clare Bisceglia.
Selected at the conclusion of a national search conducted by the Arts Consulting Group, Slaton will oversee the programming, administration, fundraising, strategic planning and overall operation of the center in his new position.
“One of the things that excited me most about the Center was the amount of investment the entire Westhampton Beach community has put into it, and not just financially,” Slaton said in a press release. “It’s relatively easy for a town to get amnesia after 20 years, but everyone here still remembers a declining downtown from the mid-1990s and recognizes how essential the creation of the performing arts center has been to realizing a full 180 turnaround and establishing Westhampton Beach as a great tourist and second-home destination. The civic pride in the center is just stunning.”
Slaton comes to the performing arts center with almost 25 years of experience as executive director of several performing arts organizations across the country — most recently, the 1,007-seat Grand Opera House in Macon, Georgia, where he oversaw the strategic planning, financial management, community projects and fundraising for the theater, instituting best practices across the board and ultimately ushering in the on-going conversion of the organization into a fully sustainable, cash-positive community resource.
“Throughout my career, I’ve been a builder or rebuilder of performing arts centers far and wide, which means WHBPAC is something of an anomaly to me, because there is absolutely nothing broken about it,” Slaton said. “Clare has given it a brilliant first 20 years or so, which all of us in the business recognize as the toughest task imaginable. She has selected perhaps the most team-oriented staff I’ve ever experienced, where every member is uniquely talented. So what I hope to bring to the table is an ability to see the theater for what it is now, and discern what it needs to be 20 years hence, and work with the team to build a road to get there.”
Slaton will officially assume his position on Monday, July 16.
“We’re truly fortunate to have identified such a highly experienced and enthusiastic individual” Dr. Stanley Zinberg, WHBPAC’s chairman of the board, said in a press release. “We are confident in Mr. Slaton’s abilities and the passion he possesses, to further drive the theater’s success.”