Arts United has appointed a new president and CEO to replace its long-time leader who announced in December she was taking another job.

Dan Ross will succeed Susan Mendenhall and assume responsibilities later this month, the nonprofit announced Thursday.

“Susan Mendenhall leaves the organization in an incredibly strong position and well positioned for the future,” said a statement from John Rogers, Arts United’s board chairman. “Given his current level of involvement in Arts United’s initiatives, we as a board are confident that Dan Ross will continue to lead the current strategic plan and programs in service to the communities of northeast Indiana.”

Arts United, with a downtown campus on Main Street, said last month that Mendenhall’s resignation would be effective Jan. 27. Mendenhall told the organization in her resignation letter that she accepted a role with the Don Wood Foundation.

Ross has more than 35 years of experience in arts administration, nonprofit management, fund development, arts advocacy and performance operations, a news release said. He has spent the past 13 years as a member of the Arts United staff; his most recent position was vice president of community development. In that role, he worked with Mendenhall as the co-leader of major initiatives, including a capital campaign to modernize and expand the Arts United Center.

Arts United is working toward a $42.2 million theater renovation project intended to improve its accessibility and functionality.

The organization received funding from various sources for the project, including $6 million from Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative, also known as READI. Arts United has a $30 million budget that will support the first phase of the project.

Before joining the arts organization, Ross had responsibility was general manager and interim executive director at the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Those roles provided experience in organizational leadership, artistic and administrative personnel management, and program operations, Arts United said in a statement.

Arts United is a private, local agency that provides advocacy and promotion, fundraising and grant-making, back-office business support and related services geared toward the Fort Wayne area’s arts scene and culture, designed to improve the quality of life.

“I am confident in the future of Arts United and confident in the talents and commitment of our board and staff team of leaders,” said Ross, who commended the “excellent leadership” of Mendenhall and Rogers.

Ross said the focus is now on “ensuring a smooth and effective leadership transition for staff, board, partner organizations, vendors and other key stakeholders.”

“Our board and staff look forward to building on our current momentum,” he added.

Managing Editor

Managing Editor Lisa Green has more than 35 years of experience at newspapers in Illinois and Indiana. She has worked at The Journal Gazette since 2000, initially as business editor. She has a biweekly leadership column/blog called "Lead On."