FAIRFIELD – Lindsay Bauer has been hired as the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s next executive director.
Bauer will begin her duties Aug. 1, taking over from Rustin Lippincott who resigned his post in March. Although Bauer is not from southeast Iowa, locals might recognize her name and face because she performed at the arts center just last year in a production called “Map of My Kingdom,” a play about farm succession.
Bauer grew up in Davenport and went to school at Northwestern College in Orange City, a town of about 6,000 people in northwest Iowa. For the past 3 1/2 years, Bauer has been the director of Orange City Arts, the town’s arts and theater program. Bauer also runs an acting studio for children in grades 1-12.
Bauer majored in theater in college and loves everything about it. She said she was an unlikely theater geek because she was so shy as a little girl. She often knew the answer to her teacher’s question but was too scared to raise her hand.
In fifth grade, she got her first “break.” She was cast as the lead in a school play. She realized how much she enjoyed performing on stage and ever since has taken to the spotlight.
Bauer said her experience in Orange City has prepared her well for her next job in Fairfield. One difference between the two positions is that Orange City Arts does not have its own building. Instead, Bauer books events at four buildings in town such as the performing arts center at the local high school and the concert hall at the college. She’s looking forward to the new challenge of managing a building and hosting non-theater related events such as weddings and other large gatherings in the convention center’s expo hall.
“I love ways to be useful to the community and make things that as many people as possible can enjoy,” she said.
Bauer said that the last time she was in Fairfield, she stayed at Seven Roses Inn where she met Fairfield’s Mayor Connie Boyer who told her about Fairfield’s history and how it came to be an entrepreneurial hub.
“I wanted to see who the people are and what really drives them,” Bauer said.
Bauer said the biggest challenge she’ll face as she gets accustomed to her new role is managing the COVID-19 pandemic. She said the arts center’s board is looking at a soft reopening date of Aug. 1, with many restrictions in place to maintain social distancing. She said the 2020-2021 Artist Series is still being finalized because it’s difficult to plan events with so many unknowns such as the future trajectory of the virus.
“The artists have been affected more than anybody else by this,” Bauer said. “Their whole livelihoods depend on people getting together. It’s a scary time for a lot of folks right now.”