New and Continuing Leaders Drive Momentum Toward the Mission

Joan SuarezBread and Roses Missouri has taken the next key step in their planned leadership transition with the appointment of Elyse Mack to succeed founder Joan Suarez as Executive Director of Bread and Roses Missouri. Mack is a curator and environmental justice activist who has worked to make arts organizations nationwide more equitable and sustainable.

“After a thorough, three-month search, we are thrilled to have hired Elyse, who brings proven capabilities and stellar endorsements for her work in building organizational capacity and equity in policy and engagement,” stated Shannon Duffy, outgoing board chair. “As we welcome Elyse, we cannot over state our appreciation for Joan’s vision and leadership. She has enabled the transformative impact our actors and artists have on the community, and has engaged the growing audience and group of supporters who make it possible.”

Elyse joins a team that includes the strong artistic leadership of Kathryn Bentley, Artistic Director, and Colin McLaughlin, Associate Artistic Director, who lead the development and production of impactful performances of the Workers’ Theater Group and other collaborative partners throughout the region. The dedicated cast of the Workers’ Theater has persevered through this difficult year, staging a virtual performance of The Bootheel Strike and participating in the upcoming originally commissioned audio series, Mrs. Palmer’s Honey. Likewise, our Youth Initiative teaching artists are planning curricula for summer programs and are eager to be back together with smaller groups of students in person.

“The mission of Bread and Roses Missouri will continue to flourish based on the strong legacy and continued support of our founder; the leadership and talent of our Workers’ Theater Artistic Directors and Youth Initiative Teaching Artists; and our new director’s organizational skills and passion for arts and activism,” stated Sherrie Hall, incoming board chair.

The leadership transition period occurred throughout March. Going forward, Suarez will serve as Director Emeritus and be involved in developing a new Bread and Roses Missouri Advisory Committee. She will also be actively engaged with the Workers’ Theater in raising funds and developing the pilot radio program performance of Mrs. Palmer’s Honey, an original play adapted from the novel by Fannie Cook.

Mack’s past work includes internships with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Williams College Museum of Art, and the Nasher Sculpture Center. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Performing Arts from the University of Texas at Dallas and a Master of Arts in Art History from Williams College. In addition to joining Bread and Roses Missouri, she is a research assistant at the Saint Louis Art Museum where she works in the department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.

Hall is owner of Workers Rights Law Firm, LLC., a firm specializing in union-side labor law, employee benefits law and employment law. Duffy continues on the board of Bread and Roses Missouri. He is Business Representative for the United Media Guild, a CWA affiliate.