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Next Stage Arts Project Hires New Executive Director

Next Stage Arts Project announced it has hired Keith Marks to be the next Executive Director following a nationwide search. He will assume leadership of the Putney, Vermont-based nonprofit presenting arts organization in January of 2020.

Marks will be moving from Jacksonville, Florida, where he founded Avant, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching community through the power of diverse arts experiences. His efforts earned him the 2019 Arts Innovator Award from the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville.

“We are very excited to bring Keith’s fresh energy to Next Stage as we start our tenth year celebration,” said Kat McGraw, MD, President of the Board of Trustees for Next Stage. “He joins us just as we begin our strategic planning process, and we are eager to have his voice join the greater Putney community in this work”.

Earlier this year, Marks completed the National Arts Strategies Executive Program in Arts and Culture certificate from the University of Pennsylvania. A fellow student in the program suggested he apply for the position at Next Stage.

“When I researched Next Stage, I loved the multiple aspects of the organization: the historical preservation piece, and, most importantly, how instrumental Next Stage is at bringing community together,” says Marks, who will be moving to Vermont with his wife, Tehila, and their two young children, Tahgel and Silan. “I look forward to being part of an organization that values community, the arts, and is a bridge that brings different people together.”

Prior to Avant, Marks had broad experience in journalism and marketing and communications. He has also been involved in the production side of live events as a booking agent, tour manager, and producer, among other roles, for the past 25 years. He holds a master’s in education from Tel Aviv University in Israel and a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of North Florida.

Next Stage Arts Project co-founder and interim director Billy Straus says Marks stood out among the several dozen applicants. “Keith’s creative instincts combined with his energy, experience and vision for arts and community is a perfect match for Next Stage Arts as the project transitions into its second decade. We look forward to welcoming Keith, Tehila, and their children to southern Vermont.”

Marks is the second executive director for Next Stage, which is celebrating its tenth birthday in 2020. For more information about the 200-seat, state-of-the-art, fully accessible performance venue with art gallery, community space and commercial-grade kitchen, visit