Main Street Arts names Stern as artistic director
David Stern, standing, directs Michael Duffin in the recent Main Street Arts production of “Les Miserables.” Stern has been appointed artistic director of MSA.

Main Street Arts names Stern as artistic director

SAXTONS RIVER — David Stern of Westminster has been appointed artistic director of Main Street Arts community arts center.

Stern directed MSA's recent productions of Les Misérables and The Pirates of Penzance. He is founding director of the New Ensemble Theater in Concord, Mass., and has run theater programs at Springfield High School, the Middlesex School, The Meeting School, and Kimball Union Academy.

He has a master of fine arts in theatrical design from Rutgers University and has directed shows and created innovative sets for theater companies across the Northeast, including the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, the North Country Center for the Arts, the Weston Playhouse, and the New England Youth Theatre.

Stern, the principal of a design firm, Artscapes, is particularly enthusiastic about expanding MSA's theater and performance programs.

“Theater is a huge part of my life,” he said, calling the opportunity “a dream come true.”

According to his business website, Stern has experience as an interior designer, exhibit designer, custom painter, sculptor, draftsman, watercolorist, and jeweler.

“I've always wanted to build community through the arts,” he said. “That's what MSA is all about, whether it's our shows, our education programs, or our work with area artists. It's all about integration of the arts into the fabric of the region.

“Plus I can bike to work any time. That's pretty awesome.”

Stern's breadth of experience was a major factor in his selection, according to Kathleen Bryar, co-chair of the MSA Board of Directors.

“David is a true arts omnivore, said Bryar. “His creative skills range from performance to arts education to sculpture, painting and exterior and interior design. That's critical for us because, in a relatively rural setting, MSA needs to be able to serve as the arts center for an extremely diverse audience.

“People come here to paint, dance, sing, act, write, learn an instrument, or discover something of our region's cultural heritage and to both show off and share their talents,” she added. “Getting a handle on all that is a big task and requires someone with a wide range of interests and expertise.”

MSA Managing Director Margo Ghia has been impressed with what she has seen of Stern's work and is encouraged by his commitment to working with young people.

“Friends and patrons of Main Street Arts have seen the quality of David's work over the last couple of years,” Ghia said. “The sets and the acting in Les Misérables were simply amazing.”

“Arts education is a big part of who we are,” she said. “David is a natural teacher and manager of teachers. He's an obvious choice to build on the legacy of our founders Mary Hepburn and Karen Lanterman, as well as the crucial contributions of the late Ryan Ostebo.”

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