The Paradise Center for the Arts executive director, Ryan Heinritz, has resigned. His scheduled last day will coincide with the PCA’s annual meeting on April 6. Heinritz informed the PCA Board that he has accepted a position as corporate relations and sponsorship manager at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul.

Heinritz was hired as the PCA’s executive director in 2009, at a time when the organization was in a precarious position financially and had unpaid bills and net losses of $89,000 from its events. He was given the task of expanding membership, stabilizing revenue streams, controlling expenses, increasing programming, retiring debt, and making the PCA a sustainable business. Over the past five years, Heinritz helped shore up revenue streams from membership and donations, sought corporate and privates sponsors to underwrite events, and controlled expenses resulting in the elimination of prior deficits and positive cash flow for the past few years.

“I was on the committee that interviewed and selected Ryan as executive director. We brought him in during a tough time for the organization. He seemed to have the business acumen we needed to turn things around. He’s leaving us after five years, and we are in a greatly improved fiscal position then we were in 2009,” said Jason Hoffman, president of the Paradise Center for the Arts Board of Directors. “We still have a $530,000 mortgage to repay, but Ryan has managed to balance the budget year after year while helping us reduce our overall debt by 30 percent.”

Over the past five years, the Paradise Center for the Arts produced, presented or hosted 37 theatrical performances, 55 concerts, 75 gallery exhibitions, 51 special events and six new family-focused shows. Membership increased from 168 paid members to just over 600. Annually, 10,000 paid patrons come through the PCA for events, and those numbers don’t include classes, camps, visual arts programming, or the Blue Collar BBQ and Arts Festival.

Heinritz said, “While I’d like to be able to take all of the credit for all of the great things happening at the PCA, I will be the first person to acknowledge that the success we have had are tied to the leadership of our Board, the talent of our staff, the dedication of our volunteers, the generosity of our donors, the loyalty of our members, the talent of our performers and artists, and the patrons who come out and support the arts in our community.”

“I’ve been a big fan of Ryan’s since day one. It’s sad to see him leave the PCA, because he’s poured every ounce of himself into our success, but I couldn’t be more pleased with the work he’s done during his tenure as our executive director," Hoffman said. "I’m confident that his successor will be able to continue to expand upon the good work Ryan has done for the last five years.”

The Paradise Center for the Arts Board of Directors will be holding a special meeting within the next week to work with Heinritz on the transition plan. An interim executive director will likely be appointed before Heinritz’ departure to ensure continuous operations during the PCA's search for a new executive director.