The Center for Puppetry Arts is removing the “interim” tag from Beth Schiavo’s title.
Schiavo, who has served as the Midtown venue’s interim managing director since founder and Executive Director Vincent Anthony retired in January, has been named its new executive director effective July 1, the center announced June 8.
“The center is a true gem in our city, a magical place that invites over 148,000 visitors a year through its doors. Working with an inspiring group of leaders, I have been humbled by the innovative people of the center – their resilience and their passion to continue engaging with patrons during this challenging time,” Schiavo said in a news release, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I am excited to continue this journey to see what the future holds and to be a part of the center’s expanding reach to new audiences, particularly families desiring a safe and joyful place to visit with their children, both virtually and when we reopen our doors.”
Like many metro Atlanta arts venues, the center has been closed since mid-March due to the outbreak. At that time Schiavo led the center as it quickly shifted its programming strategy by launching the @ Home program – expanding its digital learning platform, which traditionally focused on school groups, to offer content directly to audiences in their homes. Consequently, the center’s reach expanded from seven to 85 countries worldwide, engaging over 200,000 individuals across the globe in just two months.
“Beth has shown excellent leadership, especially through the COVID-19 crisis, and we believe she will continue to do so. We are fortunate to have someone of her caliber to guide us through these challenging times and into the brighter days ahead,” Allen Yee, the center’s board chair, said in the release.
The center is preparing to reopen later this summer at a date to be determined and, according to the release, plans to have in place “the highest standards for public safety as outlined by the CDC and the Georgia Department of Public Health.” Those precautions include timed ticketing for visitors to ensure safe social distancing.
Also, new content will continue to be offered through the center’s digital platform.
Schiavo previously served as managing director and CFO of Atlanta-based North Highland Consulting, the center’s former audit partner with EY LLP. She also has been a community volunteer and board member of some Atlanta nonprofits, including the Woodruff Arts Center and the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta.