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Duluth Art Institute leader to step down

A regular participant in the local arts scene is stepping down from her position as the executive director of the Duluth Art Institute, the organization announced Thursday.

Kat Eldred

A regular participant in the local arts scene is stepping down from her position as the executive director of the Duluth Art Institute, the organization announced Thursday.

Kat Eldred, who made the switch from board of directors to head of the art institute in 2012, is moving to Massachusetts, where her husband has taken a job. Curator Anne Dugan will be interim director while a search for Eldred's replacement is conducted.

Eldred is leaving at the end of January.

"Kat has been a real blessing for the Duluth Art Institute, both as a board member as well as her time as a director," Dugan said. "She's shown steadfast leadership and a calm, cool head for a somewhat rocky transition and it's been really exciting to see the (art institute) continue to thrive. She's set the tone for us to take off."

Eldred was an officer on the institute's board of directors when she replaced Kristin Duckart, who held the position for five months, in 2012.

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A committee has been formed to find a replacement for Eldred.

Board President Matt Hanka could not be reached for comment. He said in a statement that Eldred has put the art institute on the path to excellence and that she will be missed by the staff, the board and the artists in the community.

"The Duluth Art Institute has been incredibly fortunate to have had the passion and determination of Kat Eldred for the past two years," he said.

Eldred opened Red Mug Coffeehouse in Superior in 2004 and was head of development for the Zeitgeist Arts Building and A.H. Zeppa Family Foundation. She was the founding member of the Superior Council for the Arts and co-chaired the 2008 Artworks Conference in Duluth.

She also is an artist.

The News Tribune was unable to reach Eldred for comment, but she said in a statement:

"The Duluth Art Institute has a lot to look forward to in the coming year. The talented staff and dynamic board are bringing a lot of new and exciting energy to the institution."

Christa Lawler is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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