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Published: Friday, 3/30/2001

Performing Arts Council of Toledo gets a new executive director


Sister Sheila Shea is the new executive director of the Performing Arts Council of Toledo, which has also hired part-time directors for its two programs, First Night Toledo and the Muse Machine.

Sister Sheila, 62, had been executive director of the Franciscan Center of Lourdes College since its opening in 1981. A Sylvania Franciscan nun, she has agreed to work for PACT without wages for at least one year.

“There's a lot of work to be done,” she said.

She will focus mainly on soliciting sponsors for First Night, the downtown celebration of the performing arts held on New Year's Eve, and returning the organization to sound financial footing, she said. PACT still owes thousands of dollars to its performers and vendors from last December.

In the 1980s, Sister Sheila was among the leaders and lovers of the arts who created PACT with funding from the Junior League. Its purpose was to be a clearinghouse for performing arts events. She was the first president of its board and has volunteered at several First Nights. Last year she was honored with the Governor's Award for the Arts.

Management of First Night will be handled by Kathy Gries of Per- <$eb>rysburg, who is expected to be on the job in the next several weeks, said Chuck Vicinus, president of the PACT board. Gries is a special-events planner who has helped produce the First Night celebration in Columbus for several years. She is, however, committed to working at First Night Columbus this December, said Vicinus.

Ellin Bick becomes director of the Muse Machine, PACT's program for students in which schools pay a fee to participate in arts events and performances. Bick, 56, is director of outdoor education at Toledo Public Schools, where she has worked for 35 years.

PACT had a full-time executive director until last June when Jan Aguilar left to become executive director of CitiFest. Since then, Elizabeth Emmert has served as PACT's part-time interim director. She has taken a full-time position with the Toledo Opera.

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