Gary Peterson, newly named executive director of the Southern Theater.

Gary Peterson, a longtime leader in the Twin Cities nonprofit arts community, has been named as the new executive director of the Southern Theater, a performing-arts venue in Minneapolis.

Susan Lach, the theater's board chair, made the announcement Wednesday, citing Peterson's "experience, skill and vision" as qualities that pushed him to the front of the pool of candidates being considered.

Peterson, a graduate of the University of Minnesota, was executive director of James Sewell Ballet for 13 years, leaving in 2008. Previously, he was managing director of Zorongo Flamenco and Zenon dance companies.

His dance experience should serve him well, as the Southern presents many Twin Cities dance events. In recent years the theater has added more contemporary classical music and theater to its calendar.

Peterson, who was a host for many years on the "Fresh Fruit" show on KFAI radio, has a local arts-related blog. He lives in Minneapolis.





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