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Posted on: February 23, 2021

Wheeler Opera House announces the appointment of Lisa Rigsby Peterson as Executive Director

Lisa Rigsby Peterson is new Executive Director for Wheeler Opera House

Wheeler Opera House announces the appointment of Lisa Rigsby Peterson as Executive Director

The City of Aspen has named Lisa Rigsby Peterson as the new Executive Director of the Wheeler Opera House. Rigsby Peterson’s hire comes after an extensive national search conducted by Arts Consulting Group, including over 140 candidates, and involved the Wheeler Advisory Board, City of Aspen staff, and members of Aspen’s arts community. 

“Lisa differentiated herself from a strong pool of candidates with her depth of experience with a similar venue and a strong educational background in the arts,” said Diane Foster, assistant city manager. “At a time when we are navigating the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on programming opportunities and repair work to the facility, Lisa brings a wealth of arts management leadership to help us restore Wheeler as the community treasure we know it to be.”

Rigsby Peterson joins the Wheeler Opera House after serving most recently as the Founding Executive Director at Lone Tree Arts Center for over 10 years. During this tenure, in addition to bringing high profile performers to Lone Tree, her innovative approach to strategic artistic partnerships and programs helped identify unmet needs in the community and prompting signature programs to serve them. These programs include sensory-friendly performances to engage those with autism or intellectual/developmental disabilities, programs for those with Alzheimer’s or early memory loss, and extensive youth, school, and family programs.

Her career also includes leadership positions with Colorado’s major cultural and performing arts organizations, including The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Opera Colorado, Curious Theatre Company, the Colorado Children’s Chorale, and Phamaly Theatre Company. Additionally, she holds a Master of Fine Arts from Yale School of Drama in Theatre Management.

“Joining the City of Aspen to lead the team at the Wheeler Opera House ties together so many threads that have been important to me: leading a dedicated team to create exceptional arts experiences in a memorable setting, working in a community that is passionate about the arts and the impact they can make,” shared Rigsby Peterson. “And living in a place that most people only dream about. What an opportunity!”

A long-time Colorado resident who grew up in Evergreen, Colorado, and attended the University of Colorado in Boulder, Rigsby Peterson’s Aspen experiences began in the late 1970s while camping next to Maroon Lake and attending Aspen Music Festival performances at the Music Tent – both family traditions which continue to this day.

“The idea of bringing my work experience and passion to a new community, and particularly one which has had a special place in my family’s history over three generations, is exciting to me,” added Rigsby Peterson. “I relish the opportunity to be a part of the great legacy of the Wheeler.”

As Executive Director of Wheeler Opera House, Rigsby Peterson will be responsible for the Wheeler’s reopening with an experienced staff, refining programming to meet the needs of the community and overseeing capital improvements to the historic building Rigsby Peterson will step into her new role with the City of Aspen on March 1.

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