Familiar face is named new Norfolk Arts Center director

August 10, 2018

A familiar face has been named the new executive director of the Norfolk Arts Center, the organization’s board of directors announced Thursday.

Denice Hansen, who has been on the staff of the arts center for the past four years, succeeds Kara Weander-Gaster, who recently accepted a position as the affiliated fund development coordinator for Northeast Nebraska with the Nebraska Community Foundation.

Hansen began as a program coordinator at the arts center and was later named assistant director. She was named interim director with the departure of Weander-Gaster.

Hansen has been the key player in bringing in national theatrical productions to Norfolk and curating gallery exhibitions. During her years on staff, she also has established greater cooperation between the arts center and other community organizations.

In recent years, Hansen spearheaded the development of the “Fork Fest” summer event in downtown Norfolk, which drew 1,000 people its first year and continues to flourish under her leadership.

Hansen, who has 10 years of marketing and public relations experience, earned a bachelor of studio arts degree with an emphasis in visual communication from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Prior to joining the arts center staff, she worked for Wright Publishing Company of Omaha and the Hartington Shopper.

“I’m eager to step into the executive director role and utilize my background in marketing and public relations, as well as my established local connections to further extend the reach of the arts in our community,” Hansen said. “As an area native, I have a vested commitment to this community’s growth and success, and the arts are a key factor of that goal.

Hansen said she wants to continue to make available learning opportunities for local and area students, continue to grow community festivals that feature local creators as entrepreneurs and economic impactors, and strive for self-sustainability to help ensure that the arts continue to thrive.

The Norfolk Arts Center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring people and the arts together, serving the greater Northeast Nebraska area.