Kathleen Trotter is the new executive director for the Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale, the ACO board announced Tuesday (June 27).
A veteran nonprofit executive, Trotter was named to the ACO board last year and worked closely with Jenni Taylor Swain, then interim executive director, to chart the direction of the organization following the retirement of longtime staff directors Harry and Kathi Blundell.
She was named chief operations officer in April, before accepting the executive director position earlier this month.
“As we did the transition last year, we took a good look at the mission of the arts center and how it serves the community,” Trotter said.
During its strategic planning, the board explored ACO’s role both within Springdale and in the larger Northwest Arkansas arts scene, according to an ACO press release. The board reviewed a report on the arts and culture scene in the region released last year that WolfBrown, a national consulting agency in arts and culture, prepared for the Walton Family Foundation.
Trotter took on the strategic direction of the arts center last year and “the reimagining of the arts in Springdale,” while Taylor Swain handled programming, Trotter said.
She also worked on board development and the creation of a new organizational structure.
Prior to joining the arts center, Trotter was working as a consultant through her company Krysalis Consulting in Lowell since 2011.
She was founder and principal Kaleidoscope, which provides professional training to camps and educational institutions, from 1986 to 2010.
Before that, Trotter was executive director for 15 years at the United Methodist Church Conference, Retreat and Outdoor Education Centers in South Dakota, Oregon and Indiana, according to her LinkedIn page.
Trotter is mother to Terri Trotter, chief operations officer of Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville from 1998 to 2014. Terri Trotter is now president and CEO of the Midland Center for the Arts in Saginaw, Mich.
“I like to say that I followed in my daughter’s footsteps,” Kathleen Trotter said with a laugh.
Her 30-year career has been mostly in nonprofit leadership and board structuring, not specifically the arts, but she thinks her skills will transfer well.
“The actual content of art and different art forms is an area where I’m learning, but as a program organization, it’s familiar territory,” she said.
Trotter said she does not foresee filling the chief operations officer position vacated by her promotion and instead will continue to tweak the organizational structure of the arts center.