New director named for Cowles Center

The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts has speedily named a new Executive Director, after the abrupt resignation of Frank Sonntag.


Lynn Von Eschen

MPR Photo/Chris Roberts

He is Lynn Von Eschen, vice president and general manager of the Ordway Center for Performing Arts in St. Paul. Von Eschen has worked in various leadership positions at the Ordway for 18-years. Before that he was at the Childrens Theatre Company. He says the Cowles has been built and opened to great fanfare. Now it’s ready to be led into the future.

“This is not an organization that’s been around for 20 years,” he said. “It’s a brand new organization. And there’s going to be the opportunity to really shape and mold and really have an impact on how things can develop and move forward and really be a part of that creative process.”

Von Eschen says his biggest challenge will be building relationships with the dance and larger arts communities, which he wants to do as quickly as possible.

The hiring comes at a crucial time for the Cowles Center – just months after its initial launch, and at the start of the annual fundraising season (this blogger received a fundraising letter from the Cowles yesterday, signed by Frank Sonntag, but with no mention of his departure).

Von Eschen takes over operations of The Cowles Center in January 2012.