Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:45 am
Frances Richman, executive director of the Milwaukee Symphony Youth Orchestra has announced she will retire as of December 31, 2012 after serving as executive director for 24 years.
She will continue to work with MYSO in the future, in a consulting capacity.
“MYSO has been extremely fortunate to have benefited from Fran’s leadership for more than two decades,” said Susan Graham Wernecke, board president. “Fran has created a strong platform for MYSO’s future success. We are very grateful for all she has done for MYSO.”
During Richman’s tenure MYSO doubled its enrollment from 400 students to more than 900 and has grown the number of its youth performing groups from four to twelve.
The organization has also increased its annual budget from less than $200,000 to more than $1.2 million and successfully completed a $15 million capital campaign to build a state-of-the-art youth performing arts facility–the first of its kind in the U.S.
“I have been incredibly fortunate to work with Fran, learning a lifetime of lessons from her. Fran is a visionary and powerful champion for young people, for MYSO and for the Milwaukee community,” said Carter Simmons, MYSO’s Artistic Director. “Her leadership has enabled MYSO to become a very strong arts institution and an incredibly powerful model for those who want to provide opportunities for young people. She cares deeply for people…and has set a standard for each of us to follow at MYSO. Everyone who is touched by MYSO has benefitted from her stewardship of resources and her ability to bring people together for noble causes. Her work here has created a foundation and vision that will drive MYSO’s mission for decades; her work has truly been ‘Instrumental in Changing Lives.’ It’s an honor to be her friend and colleague.”
MYSO’s endowment has risen from $200,000 to more than $5 million and is nearing completion of its fundraising campaign Fran’s Fund, a $2 million scholarship initiative which provides scholarship funds for private lessons, instruments, MYSO tuition, summer programs and transportation costs to students in MYSO’s free or heavily subsidized community partnership programs.
“Fran is considered one of the finest arts administrators in our community and nationally,” said Patrick Rath, who will serve as president-elect.
“Perhaps the most exciting ‘event’ during my 24 years has been the creation of the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center,” Richmond said. “It was not a very well understood concept when we started, but a terrific team of visionaries and workers and fundraisers made it come to life. As a result, about a thousand kids a week have this fabulous, cutting-edge facility in which to indulge their love for the arts–and where the arts can transform their lives and help them become our future creative class. MYAC has opened up a stunningly wide variety of educational programming opportunities which were simply not available before. I’m proud to have been a part of that.”