GREENVILLE—On January 1, 2023, Andrea Jordan marked her tenth anniversary as Executive Director of Darke County Center for the Arts. On January 2, 2013, (her second day on the job), Andrea learned that due to structural issues with the roof, Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall would be unavailable for DCCA performances for an unknown time span! And so began Andrea’s tenure directing DCCA. Discovering the unknown ins and outs of a new job can be viewed as leaping into the frying pan—immediately dealing with a performing arts organization’s venue crisis is aptly seen as jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
With support from DCCA’s board of trustees and earnest dedication and work by then DCCA Artistic Director Keith Rawlins, the new Executive Director dealt with and positively resolved the crisis; Versailles school officials generously made the Versailles Performing Arts Center available to DCCA, the artists themselves were flexible and understanding, and everything worked out satisfactorily. Andrea says that such support and flexibility remains integral to the continuing success of the organization she heads, also crediting “the amazing people” who have served on DCCA’s board for their wisdom and tenacity throughout her tenure.
You might think that nothing could be worse for a performing arts executive than losing a performance venue in the middle of a presenting season—but Andrea says that the COVID pandemic was even more difficult to deal with. “We were reacting to vast unknowns,” she says, explaining that the ever-changing dynamics of planning, canceling plans, re-planning, and then changing those plans ad infinitum ultimately resulting in a lost season was way more discouraging than temporarily losing a venue. Andrea points out that that was also the first season for current Artistic Director David Warner, and that his initial year with DCCA was far more frustrating that her initiation had been.
Andrea first became involved in arts administration while attending John Carroll University in Cleveland, and learning of summer internships at Cain Park. She spent two summers working as a public relations assistant at the performance venue, meeting stars such as Keb Mo, the Smothers Brothers, and Brian Setser, but even more importantly, Cain Park Technical Director Matt Jordan, who became her husband in the summer of 1999. The couple then went to Nashville where Matt taught and worked in Vanderbilt University’s theatre department, then moved to Bellingham, Washington, in 2001 where Matt assumed a position at Western Washington University. During those years, Andrea learned customer service skills working at a cosmetics counter at Dillard’s, then mastered clerical skills necessary to her current position while employed by a Washington community service organization.
Following the birth of their first child, Maxwell, the couple returned to Ohio where Matt joined his father’s insurance agency and Andrea became a stay-at-home mom. After the Jordan’s second son, Henry, entered kindergarten, Andrea learned of the job opening for DCCA Executive Director; she applied, was hired, and remains committed to her goal of making the arts as accessible as possible for all local citizens.
Andrea sees DCCA as an organization with strong foundations and traditions that is constantly evolving to meet current needs and demands; she finds the challenges presented interesting and exciting. “I am fortunate to find a job that I have a real passion for,” she stated. Among those challenges are the everlasting need to attract new audiences while retaining long-standing patrons of the arts. Among her proudest achievements are the expanding popularity of DCCA’s “Barbecue and Blues” event which has recently drawn around 700 music fans to the Greenville Public Library lawn, as well as the annual local observance of Make Music Day, an international event joyously celebrating the summer solstice with music from anyone who wants to take part.
Andrea is also enthusiastic about DCCA’s latest project, the Darke County Art Trail, undertaken in cooperation with Darke County Parks. “I am so excited to see this amazing combination of art, nature, and history moving forward,” she stated. Moving forward seems to be something to which Andrea and DCCA are committed—steadily working to fulfill DCCA’s mission for the benefit of all.