2014 Archives

SMU Alumnus Jim Mitchell will lead Orlando Ballet


The following is from the May 21, 2014, edition of the Orlando Sentinel. Jim Mitchell graduated from SMU in 1984 with master's degrees in business administration and arts administration.

June 6, 2014

By Matthew J. Palm
Orlando Sentinel Arts Writer

Jim Mitchell, who has more than 30 years of arts-management experience, will become the new executive director of the Orlando Ballet on June 2. The resident of Fayetteville, Ark., will be the ballet's fourth executive director in four years.

Jim Mitchell
Jim Mitchell

"This is another important and positive step fortifying the trajectory of the Orlando Ballet organization," said Ava Doppelt, chairwoman of the ballet's board, who announced the appointment Wednesday. "In spite of some tremendous difficulties last year, we had one of our most powerful performance seasons ever, the ballet school earned the highest possible international acclaim and we acquired a magnificent new location for our new home. Having an experienced executive director at the helm will enable the organization to excel even further."

The ballet recently struck a deal with the city to take over the old Loch Haven Community Center and transform it into the headquarters for the ballet and its school. As part of the deal, the ballet will have to raise $1.5 million. The ballet was left homeless last fall after mold forced the group out of the old Orlando Utilities Commission building where it had been based for years.

"I am excited and honored to be selected as the next executive director of Orlando Ballet," Mitchell said in a statement. "The creation of a new home for the organization, productions in the new performing arts center, creative education and outreach priorities and the opportunity to work with Robert Hill's artistry and energy are a formula for success." . . .

Mitchell's experience includes management, marketing, development and consulting. He served five years as executive director of the Arkansas Arts Council, during which he spent three years on the board of directors of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, coordinated four statewide arts conferences and created three statewide arts initiatives in arts education, public art programming and emerging arts development.

Additionally, Mitchell has direct management experience in every major arts discipline including dance, opera, symphony and theater, as well as capital campaign and strategic planning experience.

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