City names arts centre founding executive director


The City has reached another milestone in its performing arts centre project with the hiring of a founding executive director.

Steve Solski will take the helm of the project, a cornerstone in the revitalization of Downtown St. Catharines. He brings with him a wealth of experience in municipal arts and theatre projects, including as the founding general manager of the Rose Theatre in Brampton.

Under Mr. Solski’s leadership, the Rose Theatre boasted 700 events, 390 public performances and an annual attendance of 190,000 since its opening in 2006. In addition, Mr. Solski played a starring role in the conception and design of the Rose Theatre and soon after the curtain rose on the theatre, it was touted as one of the most successful municipal theatre openings in Canadian history with attendance and event numbers far exceeding initial projections.

Mr. Solski, who will begin his tenure with the City on Aug. 2, is approaching the establishment of the St. Catharines Performing Arts Centre with the same tenacity and zeal.

“This is an exciting time for the City of St Catharines, Niagara Region and, for me personally, I am very honoured to be the founding executive director of this amazing new venue,” Mr. Solski, said. “The energy and enthusiasm about the arts centre in the City is fantastic, which is great because the success of the centre will depend on many and the community plays a major role.”

The City conducted an extensive search for a founding executive director earlier this year with the help headhunting firm Genovese Vanderhoof and Associates. The search resulted in more than 75 applicants.

“We’re very excited to have Mr. Solski be a part of this monumental project,” Mayor Brian McMullan said. “He has the experience, talent and track record to make the Performing Arts Centre the flagship artistic and theatrical hub that we have envisioned for our city.”

The Performing Arts Centre is a $54-million project funded jointly by the federal and provincial governments and the City of St. Catharines. It will be constructed at the corner of St. Paul and Carlisle streets and will be adjacent to the new home of the Marilyn. I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. The centre is scheduled to open in 2014.


Brian McMullan, Mayor
905-688-5601, ext. 1540

Colin Briggs, Chief Administrative Officer
905-688-5601, ext. 1541

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