Arts leader joins Rockland council race

By Stephen Betts | Sep 15, 2017
Lisa Westkaemper

Rockland — A longtime arts administrator and educator who served on the city council of a Texas community has joined the race for the Rockland City Council.

Lisa Westkaemper of Broadway took out nomination papers Thursday, Sept. 14.

She is one of three people who have taken out papers for two three-year seats. Incumbent Councilor Valli Geiger of Broadway and retired contractor Greg Mason of Frederick Street have also taken out papers, but no one has yet returned them to City Hall.

The deadline for candidates to file papers to get on the Nov. 7 ballot is Monday, Sept. 25.

Westkaemper said in a news release that during her career as an arts administrator, she has been employed as the executive director of an arts umbrella organization in Austin, Texas, where she served as an arts advocate and representative of the theater community. As production manager at the University of Texas at Austin, she oversaw all aspects of production at a multi-theater performing arts complex with a multi-million-dollar budget. She was also the co-artistic director for a theater and community education center in north Texas. In addition, Westkaemper was a member of the dance and theater faculty at the University of North Texas for many years.

She served a two-year term on the Justin City Council, a city of about 3,200 residents in northern Texas in 2012-2013.

She and her husband purchased their residence in Rockland in 2013, and she said they are proud to call Rockland their year-round home.

She is on the board of the Millay House.

Westkaemper said she and her husband came to Rockland for the first time in 2008 for a friend's wedding aboard the schooner Stephen Taber. They returned a couple more times, fell in love with the community and selected Rockland as their home after visiting hundreds of communities across the country.

She said the architecture and the availability of cultural events were among the things that attracted her and her husband to Rockland.

Westkaemper holds three degrees in the fine arts. Her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin is in theater production and her master’s degree from the University of North Texas is in playwriting. Her doctorate from Texas Tech University is in interdisciplinary fine arts with a dual emphasis in arts administration and theater history/criticism. She is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

While she has worked most of her career in arts administration, she has often been involved in professional theater as a production manager, stage manager, playwright, director and designer. In addition, Westkaemper has served as a dramaturge, technical director, education outreach coordinator, and as an international tour manager.

She has worked with very young theater artists in the Extend-a-Care and Urban League programs, she has instructed many high school students, and has taught at both the university level and the professional level.

Mayor Will Clayton holds the second seat up for election in Rockland this year, but he is not running for re-election.

Incumbent Regional School Unit 13  Board member Carol Bachofner is uncontested thus far for a single three-year seat on the School Board.

Comments (2)
Posted by: ananur forma | Sep 17, 2017 08:33

today, Sunday Sept. 17 Greg Mason to talk about why he is running for our city council. That's at "our" community "Speaker's Corner," 4-5 p.m. at the park at the corner of Rite Aid in Rockland. Vali Geiger has said she will come and speak one Sunday. I will let you all know when that is. Also, am wanting to invite Lisa Westkaemper to speak as well. Seems she is a well seasoned council type person! I met her yesterday.

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Sep 15, 2017 16:19

We need more influence from away.

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