Arts Obispo chooses Atascadero resident as new executive director

slinn@thetribunenews.comMay 29, 2013 

Jenna Hartzell


For the second time in about three years, the San Luis Obispo County Arts Council — Arts Obispo — has a new executive director.

Atascadero resident Jenna Hartzell, who has served as Arts Obispo’s program director since 2010, will take over the post June 1.

“I have a lot of perspective because I’ve been here for three and a half years. I have a lot of energy too,” Hartzell said, adding that her time at Arts Obispo has “allowed me to get a great feel for the community here.”

She succeeds Charlotte Alexander, who took over as Arts Obispo executive director in the fall of 2011.

Starting in July, Alexander will become festival director of the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, overseeing fundraising, grant writing and administrative duties. Wendy Eidson, the festival’s executive director since 2006, will now focus on programming and marketing as its artistic director.

Hartzell, who grew up in Columbus, Ohio, holds a bachelor’s degree in art and architecture history from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

As Arts Obispo program director, Hartzell oversaw the annual Open Studios Art Tour and two monthly art walks, Art After Dark in San Luis Obispo and First Saturdays: Wine and the Arts in Paso Robles.

She also worked with the California Arts Council to sponsor the countywide Poetry Out Loud competition and collaborated with the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education to produce the San Luis Obispo County Writing Celebration.

In her new role, Hartzell said she’s looking forward to re-establishing Arts Obispo’s focus on arts advocacy.

“All arts organizations have their own voice and their own mission and their own passion, but what Arts Obispo can and should be doing is being the voice for everyone,” she said. “I think we can take it further.”

According to Hartzell, Lori Lerian, who joined Arts Obispo as her assistant in September 2012, will take over as program director.

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