Ordway's President and CEO Makes an Exit

News   Ordway's President and CEO Makes an Exit
David Galligan resigned as president and CEO of Saint Paul, Minnesota's Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, a position he has held since 2002.

Jeff Bakken, current chair of the board of directors, has stepped down from that position to assume the role of interim president and CEO, Ordway announced June 28. Andy Bessette, current board vice-chair, was elected to succeed Bakken as board chair.

"Together, the board and I have seen Ordway Center through a key transition in the institution's life," stated Galligan. "Faced with dwindling funding for the arts nationwide, and changing public tastes, we have strengthened Ordway Center's financial position and the quality of its programs, while broadening its artistic reach and service to our community. I am extremely proud of the important milestones we've achieved in the last four years. Both financially and artistically, Ordway Center is well positioned for success in the future. After careful consideration, however, I feel this is the right moment for me to step aside to pursue new challenges. There is very strong continuity on the board of directors, and I know great progress will continue under the direction and leadership of Jeff Bakken and Andy Bessette."

The board authorized a national search process, to begin immediately.

According to the Ordway Center, the performing arts institution "has enjoyed significant growth in civic and philanthropic support, attracting first time public sector investment of a combined $8 million from the State of Minnesota and the City of Saint Paul."

Contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations rose 65 percent during Galligan's tenure, balancing the operating budget in each of the fiscal years he closed. In addition, he "undertook an important effort to strengthen Ordway Center's relationships with the arts organizations that consider Ordway Center their home – The Minnesota Opera, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and The Schubert Club." Ordway Center recently announced its new theatre season, including productions of Spamalot and Irving Berlin's White Christmas. To bring a theatrical extravaganza like White Christmas to Saint Paul, Galligan developed a partnerships with the Wang Center for the Performing Arts in Boston, with which Ordway Center will share the production every other year, and Saint Paul business leaders at the Capital City Partnership, Securian, Ecolab and St. Paul Travelers.

Galligan moved to Ordway Center from his position as chief operating officer of Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, where he was instrumental in the construction of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and was a key collaborator in planning the design of the Herzog & de Meuron expansion which opened last year.


Recognized as one of the leading nonprofit performing arts centers in the nation, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts opened its doors Jan. 1, 1985. Home to a wide variety of arts performances, each year Ordway Center presents and produces award-winning performances in its performance season; comprehensive, multicultural performing arts programs in its planet Ordway TARGET season; and serves approximately 40,000 children and adults in its Education at Ordway Center programs. In addition, each year Ordway Center hosts and presents the Flint Hills International Children's Festival, with exceptional international performing arts geared towards the Midwest’s youngest audience members and their families.

During the 2003-2004 season, Ordway Center served an audience of more than 350,000 from throughout the Midwest. Visit www.ordway.org for more information.

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