We’re only in August, seven months away from the 2015 Festival of the Arts Boca, but the beloved cultural-arts staple is making news.
This week, the festival announced that it has hired Joanna Marie Kaye as its new director. Kaye, an accomplished singer, is remembered for her 15-year stint as director of programming and operations for WXEL, Palm Beach County’s public radio affiliate. This past March, Kaye vacated a managerial position at WQED-FM in Pittsburgh, just as Festival of the Arts Boca organizers were considering opening up a directorship.
“Just as we learned of her availability, we had decided to hire somebody,” says Wendy Larsen, co-producer of the Festival. “It was happenstance. We had just finished our job description.”
The Festival has not had an official director since its first couple of years; the position vanished along with the Great Recession, with Larsen and Charlie Siemon taking on ever more responsibilities on an unpaid, volunteer basis. Larsen and Siemon’s roles as producers and chairpersons will continue, and they will have the ultimate say in programming, but according to Larsen, “Joanna brings a passion for the arts to us, along with considerable fundraising abilities, and that will be her principal responsibility.”
In other Festival news, organizers have settled on a date to unveil the 2015 lineup: Nov. 14 at Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center (201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton). This pre-festival celebration will feature a live performance by Philadelphia-born string trio Time for Three, which describes itself as “a classically trained garage band.” Known for their casual attire and eclectic musical approach—their sound incorporates rock, jazz, bluegrass and hip-hop—the young men in Time for Three last performed at Festival of the Arts Boca in 2012. Much has happened since, including international tours, appearances on NPR and a new self-titled album, the trio’s first for a major label.
As for the 2015 lineup of talent, Larsen says much of it is scheduled, but she is tight-lipped about giving anything away before November. She concedes only that “I think you will be very excited about it. It will be more diverse than it was last year—some household names and not-so-household names, and a couple of Florida premieres, too. I think it’s our best program yet for authors.”
Tickets for the Nov. 14 launch party cost $40, and include a 6:30 p.m. cocktail reception and a 7:30 p.m. performance from Time for Three. They will be available for purchase beginning Sept. 15 at festivalboca.com or 866/571-2787.