The Fort Wayne-based Arts United board of directors has named Susan Mendenhall president. She previously served as director of resource development and succeeds Jim Sparrow, who left for a similar position in North Carolina. January 20, 2014

News Release

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Susan Mendenhall, the director of resource development at Arts United, has been chosen by Arts United's Board of Directors as the organization's new president.

“After conducting a national search, we found the perfect candidate here in Fort Wayne.” said Arts United Search Committee Co-Chair Leonard Helfrich.

“We cast a wide net and were fortunate to have a strong pool of 45 candidates. We feel Susan is an excellent fit for Arts United.”

Ms. Mendenhall succeeds executive director Jim Sparrow, who led the organization from 2006 to 2013. Mr. Sparrow now serves as the president and CEO of the Art Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County in North Carolina.

Ms. Mendenhall has served as Arts United's director of resource development since 2010 with key responsibilities in fundraising, cultural district development and grant administration. Ms. Mendenhall is also the current president of the Indiana Arts Commission Regional Arts Partners Consortium, a state-wide forum of grant administrators.

“Susan possesses the key attributes we are seeking such as organizational leadership, fundraising abilities, and a reputation as a collaborative partner,” said Board Chair Andrew Boxberger. “Susan understands exactly what is required to continue our success and she is just the leader to make it happen.”

Prior to joining the Arts United staff, Mendenhall worked at the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Mendenhall has a M.A. in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and a B.S. in Public Affairs from Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

With a toast to new beginnings, Mr. Boxberger made the official announcement Friday during the formal dedication of ArtsLab at the Auer Center for Arts & Culture located at 300 E. Main Street, Fort Wayne, IN.

“This is an exciting day for Arts United and Fort Wayne. With Susan as president, Arts United is well positioned to continue the forward momentum of the arts as a major part of Greater Fort Wayne's vibrancy, quality of life and economic development,” said Mr. Boxberger.

ArtsLab, a new venue in downtown Fort Wayne, is designed to host performances for intimate audiences of 50 to 175 people and can accommodate a variety of seating, staging and lighting configurations. The VIP dedication included vignettes by Fort Wayne Youtheatre, Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, and Fort Wayne Ballet in various areas of the performance space to illustrate ArtsLab's technical flexibility.

ArtsLab will debut with the performance of “The People Could Fly” by Fort Wayne Youtheatre on January 25 at 1pm and 4pm, which will be performed in-the-round, meaning the stage is positioned in the center of the space with the audience surrounding it. “The People Could Fly” is a collection of folk tales and is being performed as a part of the city-wide celebration of


Other planned performances in ArtsLab include Fort Wayne Ballet's “Love Dance” and dedication of the Auer Academy on February 14, and Fort Wayne Civic Theatre’s presentation of “Grace and Glorie” from March 28 through April 13.

Arts United's mission is to develop, coordinate and support arts and cultural efforts in northeast Indiana. To learn more about Arts United, visit

Source: Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne

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