An experienced planner with strong community ties and a love of Byzantine art is the new voice of the arts in Scottsdale
On Monday, Michelle Klinger began her job as director of strategic planning and corporate communications for the Scottsdale Cultural Council. Klinger, director and vice president of communications for the American Lung Association of Arizona and New Mexico for the past six years, was the council’s top choice from 95 applicants.
Klinger, 35, has a bachelor’s degree in history from Arizona State University and is working toward a master’s degree in communications from ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
She grew up in Scottsdale and is a graduate of Horizon High School in the Paradise Valley Unified School District.
The Phoenix resident has also been communications liaison for the University of Phoenix and a community relations specialist for the Arizona Department of Transportation. A committee of cultural council board members recommended Klinger. Today, she will meet the entire board at its monthly meeting.
"Art is very important, especially now, when times are tough," said Klinger, whose parents moved to Arizona from Avon Lake, Ohio, when she was 3. Her family still lives in Scottsdale.
The new cultural council spokeswoman is a docent for the Phoenix Art Museum, and is admittedly enamored of art produced during the Byzantine Empire era.
Besides dealing with the news media and other agencies, Klinger will also help develop plans for the council, an agency that directs the city’s arts programs, including the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and public arts.
"I’m going to try to ensure that the cultural council stays on track and meets the goals of its strategic plans," Klinger said.
Frank Jacobson, president and executive officer, said Klinger "brings a strong background in planning and a strong tie to the community. We’re very, very pleased she’s joining us."
Klinger replaces Matt Lehrman, who resigned Feb. 13 after eight years with the council to become director of the newly formed Alliance for Audience, an agency that represents arts organizations in Arizona.