HICKORY — The board of directors of the United Arts Council of Catawba County announced that Ingrid Anna-Lisa Keller has been named its new executive director.
Keller, currently executive director of the Western Piedmont Symphony, will replace Kathryn Greathouse, who will retire at the end of 2021, after a cumulative 26 years in that position.
Keller will begin her duties with the United Arts Council on Nov. 15.
Under Greathouse’s leadership, the United Arts Council has grown into a major fundraising and sub granting organization. Its 10 major grant categories have funded cultural activities in all parts of Catawba County and its advocacy efforts on behalf of arts, science and history have been among the most successful in North Carolina.
Committed to transformative work within the arts, science and history community, the United Arts Council also conducts the annual United Arts Fund and maintains a cultural calendar for its 58 nonprofit members.
Erin Hooks, president of the board of directors of the United Arts Council, said, “We are thrilled to welcome Ms. Keller as our new executive director, and we look forward to this next step for the cultural organizations in our community.”
Keller has been executive director of the Symphony since 2016. She has worked to engage all age groups and demographics in classical music. She continued to bring the joy of music to the community when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the arts through programs like Watch Parties, #PlayOn and WPS at Home.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my work at the Western Piedmont Symphony and will continue to be invested in their success,” she says.
Sharon Goodwin is the president of the board of directors of the Western Piedmont Symphony. She says, “Ingrid has served WPS with true leadership, moving it forward, driving positive results and lifting our stature in the arts communities and entire region the WPS serves.”
Keller grew up in Catawba County, graduating from Maiden High School. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Elon University, and a Master of Arts degree in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy from the University of London. She was a winner of the Hickory Young Professionals Top 10 Under 40 award in 2020. She has been an active member of the Rotary Club of Lake Hickory since 2016 and is currently president-elect. She has served on the Newton Public Art Commission and performed in theatrical productions with Hickory Community Theatre and The Green Room.
Matthew Troy, Music Director and Conductor of the Symphony, says, "Everyone at the Western Piedmont Symphony is grateful for her many contributions to our organization and are sad to see her go. However, we are so excited for her new opportunity and know she will remain a tireless advocate for the Symphony. Bravo, Ingrid!"
“Having grown up here, I know how beneficial it is to live in a community that is supportive of arts and culture,” Keller said. “I am looking forward to working with our community leaders to strengthen that support, grow our creative economy and expand access to arts and culture.”
Western Piedmont Symphony is a grant recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council and a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County.
“In my new role, I look forward to being able to contribute to and collaborate with the many diverse arts and cultural organizations here in Catawba County," Keller said.
Danielle Cannon and Lynn Loehr were co-chairs of the Search Committee that conducted a nationwide search for a new Arts Council leader.
“We received resumes from all over the United States and were delighted to find the best candidate already right here in our community," Cannon said. "Ingrid’s experience and enthusiasm will help the Arts Council continue its important impact in our region.”
“We were looking for a candidate who could step in and not only fill the shoes of our long-time executive director, but take the Arts Council to its next level," Loehr said. "We know we have found just the right person in Ingrid Keller.”