MACON — Veteran arts administrator Gram Slaton has been named executive director of The Grand Opera House, a performing arts center of Mercer University, effective April 25. He succeeds retiring Executive Director Roseann Swiergosz.
A native of Charlottesville, Virginia, Slaton most recently served as executive director of the Piedmont Council for the Arts, which advocates for the arts, arts education and cultural tourism in Central Virginia.
Prior to returning to his hometown last year, Slaton for more than 20 years managed historic theaters in Aspen, Colorado, and Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
From 2005 to 2014, he was executive director of the Wheeler Opera House, a 504-seat, 1889 historic theater owned by the City of Aspen. During his tenure in Aspen, Slaton oversaw more than $7 million in renovations, including a major balcony reconstruction. He was involved in creating the Aspen Songwriters Festival, the Rooftop Comedy Festival/Aspen Laff Festival, and MountainSummit: Mountainfilm in Aspen, a documentary and advocacy festival.
“We could not be more thrilled with the appointment of Gram Slaton,” said George McCanless, chair of The Grand Opera House board of governors and president and CEO of the United Way of Central Georgia. “He brings outstanding financial management, programming, community relations and fundraising skills to The Grand. He has a track record of creative and visionary leadership, and, as we look at future major capital improvements at The Grand possibly being included in Macon-Bibb's next SPLOST program, he brings capabilities that will position the theater well for the future.”
Before going to Aspen, Slaton for 12 years was executive director of the Community Arts Center, a 2,169-seat historic theatre owned by the Pennsylvania College of Technology, a campus in the Penn State system. The theater's programming was very similar to that of The Grand Opera House, including touring productions, arts education and concerts.
Slaton began his career in arts administration at the Empire State Center for the Performing Arts in Albany, New York, where he was programs manager and administrative manager for three years.
“I would be thrilled to come aboard at The Grand and help lead it forward at any time, but joining it at this juncture when so many plans are underway to fully bring this flagship venue into the 21st century is truly exciting,” Slaton said. “Macon has such a dynamic future being put in place right now that it's an honor to be selected by Mercer for this vital post. I truly look forward to working with everyone in Middle Georgia, as well as the national entertainment community, to make The Grand the finest venue of its kind in the Southeast.”
A playwright and actor, Slaton is a two-time Jerome Fellowship recipient at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and completed an apprenticeship at The Alley Theatre in Houston. Slaton graduated with honors from Ohio's Dennison University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
About The Grand Opera House
The Grand Opera House, a performing arts center of Mercer University, is Central Georgia's premier historic theatre presenting professionally produced, national touring Broadway productions, concerts, comedy, dance and variety shows as well as a full season of GrandKids arts education performances. Its stage is also home to the Macon Civic Club's annual music revue, the Macon Symphony Orchestra, the Nutcracker of Middle Georgia and several other civic and arts organizations. The 1,000-seat theatre is located at 651 Mulberry St. in downtown Macon. The box office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. For a complete schedule of upcoming performances visit TheGrandMacon.com or call (478) 301-5470.