New Board Leadership at The Studios – Stephen Kitsakos and Mary Jean Connors Team up as President and Past-President

July 23, 2018

Earlier this month, The Studios of Key West welcomed a new Board President. Stephen Kitsakos takes the reins from Mary Jean Connors, who’s led The Studios with spectacular success for the past two years, guiding the organization as it settled into its new home at the landmark Art Deco building at 533 Eaton Street. Connors will stay on the Board, and its Executive Committee, as “Immediate Past President,” serving at Kitsakos’ side and continuing to lend her energy and experience to the organization.

Kitsakos joined The Studios board in 2015, has served as Vice Chair of The Studios since 2017, and has been involved with the organization in an artistic capacity for many seasons.

“It’s very exciting to work in a leadership role with The Studios,” said Kitsakos. “The organization not only brings together the rich components of the visual and performing arts in Key West, but also attracts artists of national and international reputations.

Kitsakos brings a wealth of experience to the position, having served on the Theatre Arts Faculty at SUNY New Paltz from 1999-2013, where he taught undergraduate theatre studies and performance and directed many plays. He is also an opera librettist and writer, and his current project, the opera adaptation of the novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Afghan-American Khaled Hosseini, with music by the American composer Sheila Silver, will receive its World Premiere with the Seattle Opera in their 2019-2020 season.

For the next year, Kitsakos and Connors plan to work closely together.

“We have a great year ahead — fun, creative, exciting — under the leadership of Stephen and Jed Dodds (Executive Director) and with a small but amazing staff,” said Connors.

Ms. Connors spent the bulk of her career with Knight Ridder publications, starting in the newsroom and retiring in 2006 as Senior Vice President. In addition to The Studios, Ms. Connors is a dedicated painter, and exhibits at the Key West Art Center where she also sits on the Board.

Rejoining the Executive Board this year is Rosi Ware, who led the organization as Board Chair from 2008-2015, through its early years of development. Under Ware’s leadership, The Studios emerged as a pillar of the Key West arts community.

“Having Rosi back on the Board means I have the wisdom and experience of two past Board Presidents from which to draw,” said Kitsakos.

The Studios of Key West’s newly elected Executive Committee also includes Vice Presidents Rita Linder and Richard McChesney, Secretary Paula Tishok, and Treasurer Jim Morris.

Comprised of seventeen community members, The Studios’ Board of Directors also includes Lucy Barker, Marlon Garnett, John B. Hammond, Helen Harrison, Susan Henshaw Jones, Adam Russell, Tom Swain, Richard Tallmadge, Rita Troxel, and John Vagnoni.