Two Harbors resident to direct the Duluth Art InstituteTwo Harbors resident Kat Eldred has been named Executive Director of the Duluth Art Institute.
By: Tammy Francois, Lake County News Chronicle
Two Harbors resident Kat Eldred has been named Executive Director of the Duluth Art Institute. The appointment was announced by the organization’s Board of Directors this week. The DAI has been serving the arts community for over a century and has grown to become the largest non-profit arts organization in the Arrowhead.
Eldred has been the head of marketing and communications and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, a founding board member of the Superior Council for the Arts in Superior, Wisc., where she also founded and operated the Red Mug Coffee House and Gallery. She led development at the Zeitgeist Arts Building in Duluth and served as a member of the board of directors and interim director of the DAI. She is also an artist.
Eldred has lived in Two Harbors for eight years. She recently bought and renovated a home here and enjoys living in the area. “I just brought a piece—a painting-- to the [Lake County] Fair this morning. It’s fun to do local stuff—to be a part of the community, “ she said
In the mean time she will be busy in her new role with the DAI. “We have set a lot of wheels in motion that I want to see through to fruition and now I will be able to do that. I am pleased to continue working with this talented and driven staff, dedicated board, committed membership of artists, art enthusiasts and community-wide supporters,” Eldred said.
The challenges that lay ahead are in maintaining funding. “Funding for the arts always seems to be on the table—on the chopping block, “ she said, but there are programs planned for the fall including a fund raiser called “Artistic Duluth.” The event is an auction that also focuses on the artists. Art auctions have become popular as fund raisers for non-profits in the area, but Artistic Duluth allows artists to set a reserve on their pieces and keep a 30 percent commission on sales. Ordinarily artists are asked to donate pieces to auctions and do not enjoy the same tax benefits as retail and cash donors.
Of Eldred, Rob West, president of DAI’s board said, ““We are very fortunate that Kat Eldred was able to step down from the board three months ago and serve as the interim director at a very crucial time. Kat is known throughout the community as an advocate for the arts, and is a talented and experienced administrator. We have great confidence in her ability to take the DAI forward.”