Quick Center gets new director


Peter Van Heerden

Peter Van Heerden has been named executive director of Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The appointment is effective  Jan. 13.

Van Heerden, a Westport resident, comes to the Quick Center from The Westport Arts Center, where, for the past three years, he was responsible for the management of overall strategic vision, direction and fiscal health of more than 200 programs in visual arts, film, education, jazz and chamber music.

Prior to that post, Van Heerden was senior faculty member in performance studies for 15 years at City Varsity School of Media and Creative Arts in Cape Town, South Africa, where he also founded and served as artistic director of ERF 81 Cultural Collective, in which artists, performers, historians, educators and others generate projects vested in the culture and heritage of contemporary South Africa.

From 2001 to 2003, he served as managing director and co-founder of School Environment and Education and Development (S.E.E.D.), which transforms schools and learning environments through permaculture and sustainable practice.

“Peter comes to the Quick Center with a wealth of hands-on expertise in the arts, particularly in building a sense of community among patrons, donors, cultural foundations and artists, as well as a proven record as an inspirational leader and collaborator,” said Kevin Lawlor, the university’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “I’m excited to watch the Quick Center build on its rich existing programming and extend its community engagement opportunities under his leadership.”

“I am excited to join Fairfield University as executive director of the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts,” Van Heerden said. “The prospect of positioning the Quick Center as a leading force in the arts in Fairfield County is a great opportunity. I look forward to enhancing engagement with the Fairfield community, sponsors and Fairfield University faculty in advancing the Quick Center to become the leading performing arts center in the region.”

A native of South Africa, Van Heerden holds a bachelor’s degree in drama and classical civilization from Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, and a master’s degree in theatre and performance, cum laude, from the University of Cape Town.

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