Anna Tanski, who announced Friday she is leaving Visit Duluth at the end of 2021, has been hired as Catalyst Story Institute's new head of festivals and events, the Duluth-based nonprofit arts organization said Monday.

In this newly created position, Tanski will be charged with overseeing the annual Catalyst Content Festival, billed as the institute's "pinnacle event of the year."

The organization, led by Philip Gilpin, Jr., centers on developing episodic storytellers and offers workshops, seminars, a mentorship program and more. Part of that includes showcasing this region as a location for projects.


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Tanski has been a part of the local tourism bureau since 2005 and has been president and CEO since 2014. The city recently cut its tourism tax allotment to Visit Duluth from $1.5 million to $650,000. Much of the city's budget, $1.8 million, was redirected to Bellmont Partners, a Edina marketing firm.

Catalyst Content Festival, which was held Sept. 29 to Oct. 3, was the event's third go-round since it was first held in Duluth in 2019. The events, held at multiple downtown venues, included screenings, readings, workshops and networking. Local horror aficionado Kelly Florence and her writing/podcasting partner Meg Hafdahl offered up a script for consideration.

Tanski, whose contract with Visit Duluth ends Dec. 31, said in a release Friday that it is the right time to step aside and "pave the way for a new leader at Visit Duluth."

She said in a news release Monday that the region is emerging as an ideal production location and "I'm eager to roll up my sleeves and get started in the New Year."

Christa Lawler is a features reporter for the News Tribune. She can be reached at