The Great Northern announced last week that Jovan C. Speller Rebollar will be the organization’s new executive director. The two-week festival, held every winter, offers an opportunity to celebrate local creativity and the resilient spirit of the North through an array of diverse programming.
Speller Rebollar is an artist based in rural Minnesota. She actually created a piece for the 2022 festival, titled “Controversy,” and was a featured speaker at this year’s festival’s Climate Series. Apart from her own artistic work, she has fostered a career in nonprofit arts administration for over 15 years in New York, D.C., and Minnesota. Her most recent experience was as the program director at the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council.
“Since participating as an artist collaborator with The Great Northern, I have been blown away by the innovation and brilliance of the team, led by Kate Nordstrum and backed by a powerhouse board,” Speller Rebollar said in a press release. “The festival has been a shining example of how to ambitiously celebrate ‘the North’ and build community. The platform centers the strengths of this region and engages in topics that lead to a greater understanding of our collective power to address climate issues. I look forward to helping expand The Great Northern’s reach and impact, while strengthening its operations and partnerships.”
Speller Rebollar will co-lead the organization with chief programming officer Kate Nordstrum, who previously served as both the executive and artistic director of the festival after beginning as the organization’s only full-time employee in 2019. As CEO, Speller Rebollar’s responsibilities will include leading key functions of the organization, including development, finance, marketing, and operations.
“I know Jovan will bring incredible momentum to The Great Northern and I’m thrilled to co-lead the organization with a colleague I already admire so much,” Nordstrum said in a press statement. “Her rich experience as a cultural entrepreneur and sustainable systems builder will serve The Great Northern and its community tremendously well.”