September 8 — The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts announced Wednesday morning that Christopher Harrington has been named its new President and CEO.
Harrington, 36, has been with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra organization since 2012. In a press release, the Ordway called him a leader in the performing arts that “emphasizes community building in Minnesota.” .
St. Paul’s Ordway is home to theater, concerts, dancing, and programs for youth and families, including the annual Flint Hills Family Festival. Stage programming includes Broadway @ the Ordway and Concerts @ the Ordway. Closed since the start of the pandemic, the Ordway will reopen later this month.
Harrington said on Tuesday evening that joining the Ordway as things open is a chance to return to shared experiences important to the public. “Theaters are going to play a really critical role in the healing,” he said.
The eldest of five children who grew up in Detroit, Harrington said school trips helped him learn about the arts. “Get off that yellow school bus and enter a larger-than-life cavernous space – the seed has then been planted. “
“Music has always been a part of our household,” Harrington says of his youth – Motown, R&B, jazz. He says his mother was an “incredible force” in his life – and also a huge Prince fan, so when Harrington and his wife visited Paisley Park on an interview trip, “It was like Disney World for we.”
A press release from Ordway said Harrington had a successful track record of audience development, revenue generation strategy, leadership and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion priorities. Harrington defines himself as a “connector” and wants to make the arts relevant. “How do we mean more to more people? ” he said.
He adds that if he wants to look to the future, it will not be done “to the detriment of the exclusion of anyone”.
When he first started working in the arts, Harrington remembers going backstage at the Detroit International Jazz Festival and watching “a sea of people where there was probably a lawyer next to a reporter, next to a teacher, next to a barista. Music “. was that unifying force that brought them together. I wanted to be part of it.
Harrington will succeed interim chairman Chris Sagstetter, who will return to his former role as executive vice president and chief financial officer. He is Ordway’s 12th President and CEO.
Harrington, who holds an MBA and a Bachelor of Music from Wayne State University, said his career has been aligned with his personal passions – music and travel. He and his wife are foodies and are in awe of how Minnesotans embrace the winter months.
And, by the way, he said. He’s from Detroit. He is not afraid of the cold.