Emily Montgomery, who has been executive director of the Empire Arts Center since 2012, will be leaving the position later this year. She plans to work with her family’s business, Burkland Farm, and also spend more time with her two young children.
“Even though it’s been incredibly hard work, I couldn’t be more honored to have had the chance to make an impact on our community through my time at the Empire,” Montgomery said in a press release. “I feel like I was able to accomplish a lot of positive things for the Empire, but I didn’t do it alone; the amazing staff both past and present, artists, board of directors, donors, volunteers and, most importantly, my family all made the Empire’s recent successes possible.”
The search for Montgomery’s replacement begins immediately.
The Empire Arts Center is a nonprofit organization that promotes the arts in Greater Grand Forks. In doing so, it provides venues for local arts organizations, as well as developing its own programming, including the Empire Theatre Company, the 1919 Lounge and the Backstage Project. The Empire also hosts the UND Art Collections Gallery and rents out its space for private events. It notably hosts professional musicals, plays and musical acts at its downtown location.
Jonathan Holth, president of the organization’s board of directors, said Montgomery has been instrumental in the Empire’s success.
“Her dedication, passion and commitment to collaboration have taken the Empire to new heights,” Holth said.
During Montgomery’s time at the Empire, the organization began the Empire Theatre Company, began its partnership with UND, created the “blackbox theater” Studio E, began the 1919 Lounge cabaret series and the Empire’s Backstage Project. She also was instrumental in fundraising and various improvements at the historic building, including installation of a new security system, new windows, a new digital projector, new lighting and a new grand piano.
Holth said Montgomery’s vision and work have been important to the Empire’s advancement in recent years. He noted that because of Montgomery, the Empire is “grateful for our history, confident in the present and excited for the future.”
It’s the second staff announcement for the Empire this month. Last week, the organization announced the hiring of Nathan Haltiwanger as its new program manager. Haltiwanger’s duties will include all aspects of programming, as well as development and marketing assistance.