With the pending retirement of 11-year executive director Clare Bisceglia, the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center announced Friday that City Parks Foundation’s James Burke will talk the helm on November 18.
Burke began at City Parks Foundation in 2001 as the general manager and later became the director of arts and cultural programs. The foundation is the largest presenter of free outdoor programs in New York City, according to WHBPAC, and Burke stewarded more than 1,000 performing arts programs from conception to presentation.
“I am extremely excited to build upon the amazing legacy of the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center,” Burke said. “Programming arts and entertainment in neighborhoods across the five boroughs of NYC has prepared me well to serve the audiences from the East End and beyond. And my entire family is looking forward to becoming a part of the Westhampton community.”
Burke plans to move with his wife, Jennifer Townsend, and three children to the Westhampton Beach area soon.
Burke’s credits include SummerStage and SummerStage Kids festivals and the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival and he is the founder and chairman of New York Music Presenters & Festivals, a coalition that meets quarterly to share concerns and best practices. Before City Parks Foundation, he worked as a professional bassist, singer and songwriter, and he worked in sales, marketing and promotions for Paradigm Associated Labels, Caroline Distribution, and CMJ Music Marathon and others.
“After an exhaustive nationwide search, we are thrilled to attract such a high caliber executive with extensive experience in presenting diverse talent in unique locations appealing to huge audiences,” said Neil Braun, the president of WHBPAC’s board of directors and the chairman of the search committee. He said Burke is the right person to lead the PAC into the future.
“James, I’m convinced, has the knowledge, skill and desire to effectively grow and enhance executive director Clare Bisceglia’s legacy,” added WHBPAC Board of Directors Chairman Tom Poole.