ST. PAUL, MINN.: The Interact Center for Visual and Performing Arts has announced that its founding artistic director, Jeanne Calvit, will retire in mid-February, after 27 years leading the organization, which is dedicated to creating professional-level theatre and visual arts to support the growth of artists with disabilities. Interact’s operations manager, Joseph Price, will take the helm of the organization as its executive director.
“I am proud to say that with the help and support of our incredible arts community, an exceptional staff of dedicated arts collaborators and mentors, the families and friends of our artists, and most important of all, our company of theatre and visual artists with disabilities, Interact has been a vital part of the Twin Cities professional arts community for almost 30 years,” said Calvit in a farewell letter.
According to the letter, a succession plan for Calvit was in the works in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the field, so she stayed on to stabilize the theatre and help produce more than 50 Zoom creativity sessions, arts exhibitions in a virtual gallery, and a virtual theatre event called Zoomtopia. She stayed on through 2023 to smooth the transition of a new operations manager, Joseph Price.
Interact Center has won two Ivey Awards, as well as multiple awards from the National Endowment for the Arts. The company has collaborated such Twin Cities theaters as Mixed Blood Theater, History Theatre, and Theater Latte Da, and with Tutti Ensemble in Adelaide, Australia. Interact’s visual artists exhibit work in professional galleries throughout the region, and received a 2018 Innovation Award from the MN Department of Human Services in recognition of the quality of work coming out of the studio.
Of her successor, Joseph Price, Calvit said in her letter, “Joe is also the proud father of a creative child with a disability, and he has a deep love for our mission and vision. After working side by side with Joe for the past year, I know he is the best person to take Interact forward into the future.”
Since 1996, Interact’s mission has been to create art that challenges perceptions of disability and to open doors for artists with disabilities and audiences eager to experience their work. As of 2022, the theatre’s budget was around $2.2 million.
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