WFSU News · Tallahassee · Panama City · Thomasville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

New COCA Executive Director, Kathleen Spehar, Has Extensive Background In Local Arts


Tallahassee’s Council on Culture and Arts has a new executive director at the helm. Kathleen Spehar has had a long career in the arts, focused mainly in Minnesota and the Midwest. She’s been an educator in state university systems, and has worked in managerial roles for arts and theater organizations. Spehar is no stranger to the Capital City, having been a visiting professor at Florida State University in 2010.

I so enjoyed my time here back in ’10-’11 and got to know a little bit of the community, and thought that this is just a hotbed of creativity here. And fast forward to today, and that has just continued to grow,” Spehar said during her first day on the job Monday.

For Spehar, art and the people who make it are a pillar of any community – one of the reasons she wants to help move the local scene forward.

“My previous position in St. Paul (Minnesota) was to work with local artists, and that really cemented in my mind and in my heart the essence of how important local artists are to their community,” Spehar said. “Not only the cultural perspective that they bring, the amazing artwork that they generate, the passion that they bring to the community – but the way that the arts continually convenes people of all walks of life.”

COCA’s former director Audra Pittman left the post earlier this year to become a vice president at Atlanta’s Savannah College of Art and Design.

Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.