Deborah Sommers, the new artistic director of the Modlin Center for the Arts, is eminently qualified for this job, and the university is very fortunate to have her talents and experience. As an arts management professional with extensive experience in managing arts centers in the New York area, she is dedicated to developing new opportunities for the University as well as the Richmond community.

Ms. Sommers’ responsibilities include obtaining artists for the Modlin Center’s Great Performance series as well as overseeing student theater, dance, and music performances. Additionally, she teaches and oversees the University’s arts management program.

Many people do not realize that most artists must be secured at least two to three years in advance of the actual date. Additionally, difficult economic challenges exist currently for performers as well as for the organizations that hire them. Many performing arts venues are presently planning shorter seasons and choosing more popular artists and art forms to attract larger audiences.

Potential patrons include young professionals frequently dealing with a student loan repayment, middle aged parents saving for their children’s college education, and older adults frequently on a short budget. Therefore, a director must consider ticket costs as well as performance choices. However, one cannot ignore the great opportunity for the pleasure that the arts bring to all ages.

The more artistic and cultural energy the University produces, the more that helps to promote the arts in the Greater Richmond area. Volunteers will be needed in the future to meet the challenge of fundraising. Osher members with an interest in the performing arts would surely benefit from the experience of becoming involved with UR’s Modlin Center for the Arts.

The University of Richmond fully supports the arts, and in finding such a talented and experienced person as Ms. Summers, the University is on its way to a better future for the arts in this area.

The 2011-2012 season brochures will be available around June 1. For more information on the Modlin Center, go to or call (804) 289-8980.

–Jane G. Tombes (Photo courtesy of University of Richmond)