Janis Martinson to step in for departing Beryl Jolly as executive director of Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

Janis Martinson

GREAT BARRINGTON — The executive director of the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center will step down from her role at the end of this year.
Beryl Jolly has served as the Mahaiwe’s lead for the past 15 years. Janis Martinson, the current director of development at the Mahaiwe, will assume Jolly’s position, effective Jan. 1, according to a letter provided to this newspaper that was distributed to the Board of Trustees by its Chairperson, Margaret Deutsch.
“I am pleased to report that Janis wholeheartedly accepted the challenge, embraced the opportunity and expressed humility that the Mahaiwe Board would consider her for this opportunity to serve as Acting Executive Director,” Deutsch wrote in the letter.
In a press release distributed by the Mahaiwe, Deutsch noted how appreciative the board was of Beryl’s contributions to the organization.
“Beryl’s leadership has strengthened the Mahaiwe and its role in the community, expanding programming, drawing visitors from across the region, and building a strong and talented team,” she said. “The board is appreciative of her contributions and the strong platform for future success she leaves behind. At the same time, we see this as an opportunity to continue to grow and evolve the Mahaiwe for the future.”
A spokesperson for the Mahaiwe did not confirm the details.
A longtime resident of Egremont, Martinson was appointed to her current role in June 2017.
Jolly arrived in Great Barrington in April 2005 and the theater kicked off its Centennial Celebration and began year-round programming in May of that year. She has overseen the completion of the theater’s restoration and launching and leading its year-round programming seasons. She will continue to help the Mahaiwe during the leadership transition in 2020.
“It has been a privilege and joy to shepherd the Mahaiwe Performing Art Center’s growth and development over the last 15 years. During this time, we completed a challenging and important restoration, established dynamic and memorable year-round programming, eliminated all debt and built our first cash reserve, and have become a vital cultural resource for diverse audiences,” said Jolly in a statement. “It’s been a pleasure to partner with board chairs Lola Jaffe, Maggie Buchwald, Margaret Deutsch and the board as a whole. Together we’ve been courageous, responsible, and responsive to the Berkshire community. It’s also been a joy to work with the Mahaiwe’s smart, caring, and dedicated staff who keep the doors open 140 nights a year and skillfully manage the theater’s resources and communications.”
During Jolly’s tenure at Mahaiwe, the organization established and has achieved its ambitious mission of preserving the historic theater and becoming the leading year-round presenter of performing arts, film, arts education, and family programs for the Berkshires and neighboring communities.
The historic restoration of the jewel-box landmark venue was completed soon thereafter; the Mahaiwe is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In its initial seasons, the Mahaiwe has presented and hosted more than 1,500 presentations of all genres. Between 2005 to 2019, more than 500,000 audience members have attended world-class live performances, international HD broadcasts, classic monthly movies and community gatherings. School-time programs have welcomed more than 22,000 local students from more than 70 different schools across the tri-state region to enjoy live performances from international companies. The 2019 season boasts 11 sold-out headliner events and more than 80 percent audience capacity overall.
Jolly has overseen fundraising campaigns which have raised over $20 million to complete the theater’s restoration, its subsequent capital campaign to eliminate all debt and establish its first cash reserve, and support annual operating budgets.
“I’m proud of our work. And it’s time for me to take on new challenges and adventures,” said Jolly. “The Mahaiwe is well positioned to continue to thrive and also grow in new ways. I look forward to supporting a positive transition as we each begin these new chapters.”

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