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Diversity and Inclusion Director Hired at Overture

For immediate release: Friday, August 26, 2016

Contact: Lex Poppens, VP of Marketing and Sales, 608.258.4147 / lpoppens@overture.org

Sarah Knab, Communications Manager, 608.258.4438 / sknab@overture.org

Overture Center for the Arts announces Edward S. Holmes, PhD. as the new Director of Diversity and Inclusion

Madison, Wis. — Ted DeDee, President and CEO of Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts, and the Overture Center Foundation Board of Directors announced today that Edward S. Holmes, PhD. (Ed) has joined the staff of the performing arts center.

In 2014, the Board of Overture Center Foundation (OCF) was moved to action after reading the Race to Equity Report issued by the Wisconsin Council on Children & Families and created Overture’s response, the Racial Equity Initiative. “We are thrilled to have Ed join our team to extend Overture’s presence into our communities,” said DeDee. “Our core belief is that the arts are a critical means by which a whole community can come together, celebrate and thrive educationally, artistically, socially and economically.”

A press conference and official welcome will be held at Overture Center on Thursday, September 15 at 4:00 p.m. At this event, Holmes and DeDee, as well as Chairman of the OCF Board, Charlie Saeman, will be available to answer questions from community members and media.

Dr. Holmes has 38 years of experience in community-based and public educational programs including ten years as Principal at Madison West High School. While at this school, Dr. Holmes’ successes included:

  • Keeping West High School consistently ranked as one of the top public high schools in the State of Wisconsin for a decade through composite SAT and ACT scores, number of National Merit finalists and Presidential Scholars
  • Successfully implementing $1.2 million U.S. Department of Education Smaller Learning Communities grant
  • Closing achievement gaps between ethnic minority students and their white student counterparts over a three-year span while raising achievement scores of all student sub groups
  • Restructuring the school to create opportunities for 250 faculty and staff to engage with 2,200 students daily through the West High Lunch and Learn Program

“As the principal of West High School, I was responsible for leading a diverse student body and 250 staff members daily. We advanced equity, inclusion and diversity as an institutional value that was at the core of the day to day operation and overall mission, vision and philosophy of the school,” said Holmes. “The opportunity to work with the community using the arts as a catalyst is very exciting.”

Overture’s commitment to racial equity in Madison begins with its mission: to enrich the lives of individuals and the community by creating, encouraging and catalyzing extraordinary experiences. As part of the new initiative, Overture adopted four areas of focus:

  • Equity in Employment and Governance
  • Equity in Purchasing
  • Equity in Programs and Education
  • Equity in Community Access

“Although some of the initiative’s goals have been met since the initial launch of these focus areas, we are looking to Ed to broaden the reach of Overture through programs that foster the practice that Overture is here for everyone,” added DeDee.

Dr. Holmes began his employment at Overture Center on Monday, August 15, 2016.

Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, Wisconsin features seven state-of-the-art performance spaces and five galleries where national and international touring artists, ten resident companies, and hundreds of local artists engage nearly half a million people in educational and artistic experiences each year. Overture.org

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