The O'Shaughnessy's new Executive Director
St. Catherine University announced today it has named Paul Organisak to serve as Executive Director of The O'Shaughnessy. Organisak, a 30-year veteran of arts administration, will assume his role on November 18.
"We were impressed with Paul's rich background across the performing arts scene, which will help us build on the solid base The O'Shaughnessy already has in place," said Angela Riley, executive vice president and chief financial officer, St. Catherine University. "We are excited for Paul to begin, and for the future collaborations he will establish here at The O'Shaughnessy."
The O'Shaughnessy is an anchor on campus for the broader community to convene and understand the mission, vision, and values of St. Catherine University through the expression of revolutionary ideas. The stage at The O'Shaughnessy offers neutral space for communities to engage and explore critical topics that address the issues of the day, support women innovators, and promote diversity and inclusion in the performing arts. Since opening nearly 50 years ago, The O'Shaughnessy has been an important cultural center not only for the St. Kate's community, but also for the Twin Cities and surrounding region. It has been the home to the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; it is a significant center for professional dance companies including Ananya Dance Theatre, James Sewell Ballet, TU Dance, and many more; and has provided a high-profile venue for community groups like CAAM Chinese Dance Theater, Ballet Minnesota, Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra, Red Ballo on Bookshop, Temple of Aaron, and Climate Generation: A WIll Steger Legacy.
The O'Shaughnessy is well-known for its long-running Women of Substance series which has featured lectures and performances by the likes of Dr. Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Tori Amos, and Toshi Reagon. Reagon's folk opera performance in 2019 of Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower initiated a model of collaboration between campus at the community that opened new partnerships with the East Side Freedom Library, Free Black Dirt, and the Million Artists Movement.
"I am simply thrilled to join the team at The O'Shaughnessy," said Organisak. "This theatre's reputation, from the front of the house to backstage, is built by the people and leadership that have spent the past half-century dedicated to this venue's mission. That is what attracts some of the top choreographers, dance companies, musicians, and songwriters in the nation. It is an honor to be trusted with this role to carry that mission forward."
Organisak most recently served as president and CEO of the Harris Theatre, a 1,500-seat indoor venue located in Millennial Park in Chicago. Prior to that, he was vice president of programming for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and executive director of the Pittsburgh Dance Council, which became a division of the Trust in 2002. In all roles he oversaw programming across multiple performance disciplines, including dance, music, and cross-disciplinary. Earlier performance administration positions include Dance Umbrella in Boston and the American College Dance Festival Association.
Organisak holds a degree from the University of Michigan/Ann Arbor with a focus in music history and musicology.
About The O'Shaughnessy
Located on the scenic St. Paul campus of St. Catherine University, The O'Shaughnessy is one of the Twin Cities' premiere venues for showcasing the arts. Since opening in 1970, The O'Shaughnessy has presented a dazzling array of both local and national performing arts companies, including the Minnesota Orchestra, The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Ananya Dance Theatre, James Sewell Ballet, TU Dance, Toshi Reagon, Rhiannon Giddens, and countless others. In addition, the venue hosts public events, student and community performances and features multicultural programming with an emphasis on dance, music and theater. Known for its dedication to artistic development and collaboration, the venue has premiered over 400 new works by local and national artists. The O'Shaughnessy is the home of the Women of Substance series, which showcases the artistry and innovative work of women, both prominent and emerging in their fields, whose voices need to be heard. Learn more at theoshaughnessy.com.