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SLO’s PAC foundation to be led by Miami museum director

Leann Standish is the new executive director of the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo.
Leann Standish is the new executive director of the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo.

The new executive director of the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center is a seasoned fundraiser with ties to museums in Miami and the Midwest.

Leann Standish, who took over leadership of the San Luis Obispo nonprofit Nov. 1, has spent more than two decades working for arts organizations across the country, said Shannon McGee, the foundation’s marketing and communications manager. Standish replaces Heather Cochrane, who had held the post since 2011 and stepped down in July.

“I am so happy to be moving to the Central Coast and to explore all that this beautiful area has to offer,” Standish wrote in an email.

Standish kicked off her career in Fresno. Most recently, she served as the deputy director of Pérez Art Museum Miami.

She also worked in various directorial capacities at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Indianapolis Museum of Art and Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

As executive director of the PAC foundation, Standish will oversee efforts to create a new strategic plan, McGee said. The foundation also aims to increase community access to the Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo through its Student Matinee and Swanson PAC Community Access Fund programs.

In September 2015, the foundation wrapped up its Encore endowment campaign, which raised more than $5 million in 18 months.

Founded in 1986, the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center partnered with Cal Poly and the city of San Luis Obispo to build the PAC, which opened in 1996.

Those three entities cover 55 percent of annual operational costs at the PAC. (The rest is funded through hall rental and technical fees.) In 2015, $1.7 million of the PAC’s $3 million budget came from Cal Poly, the city and the foundation, Cochrane said at the time.

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