Heart of the Beast shakes up leadership

In The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater has hired Catherine Jordan as interim executive director.

She succeeds Loren Niemi, whom the organization’s board fired last month.

The change comes in the wake of a financial crisis in August that forced the company to furlough staff for two weeks. It has also sought financial counseling from the Nonprofits Assistance Fund.

Javier Lopez Perez, 8, blows bubbles as he watches the 40th Annual MayDay Parade, presented by In the Heart of the Beast Theatre and friends, on Bloomington Avenue in Minneapolis May 4, 2014.
(Courtney Perry / For MPR News)

Niemi served as the company’s executive director for four years; Jordan, a founding member of the Artspace Board of Directors, joined In the Heart of the Beast on Monday.

“Catherine brings to In the Heart of the Beast a renewed sense of calm, confidence and stability as she starts working closely with staff, Board, and our circle of partners and stakeholders,” board member Anne Q. Ulseth said.

The financial hurdles come in the same year In the Heart of the Beast Artistic Director Sandy Spieler was recognized for her service to the community with the McKnight Foundation’s prestigious Distinguished Artist Award.