I am so proud of what PPA has achieved in this challenging season.
Several years ago I stepped into the Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Vandalia, Missouri to attend the Prison Performing Arts production of Run-On Sentence. It was my first time inside a correctional facility, and I had no idea what the next two hours would bring. I certainly wasn’t expecting the experience to change my life, but it did. The talent of the actors and the artistic caliber of the performance was extraordinary. I became a self-proclaimed “season ticket holder.” If you have been to any PPA production, you can understand my immediate loyalty.
In 2019, with the support of artistic staff (at the time, Chris Limber and Rachel Tibbetts) and the board of directors, I accepted a role as Executive Director for PPA. Little did I know that just a few months later, a global pandemic would shut down all in-person programs at every correctional facility. Scary and unprecedented, but the creativity and grit of PPA artists kept us moving forward.
I am so proud of what PPA has achieved in this challenging season. Despite the obstacles, the organization is thriving at every level: strong board engagement, skilled teaching artists, financial stability, a robust artistic calendar (virtual and in-person), outstanding partnerships, and loyal supporters who give selflessly. Much of this is due to the capable and committed leadership of Artistic Director Rachel Tibbetts who has been with PPA for the last 16 years.
I am quite sad to leave, but incredibly grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to be a part of PPA’s story.
I have enjoyed and learned so much in my role as Executive Director. But I have decided to step down to pursue a leadership opportunity with a different organization where I will be focused solely on fundraising. I am quite sad to leave, but incredibly grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to be a part of PPA’s story. I am certain that the best is yet to come and look forward to helping the new Executive Director settle in when that time arrives.
Thank you to Rachel, the board of directors, and all of you for your unwavering support. I will see you at the next show!
A Message From PPA Board President, Steve Knight:
On behalf of the Prison Performing Arts Board, I want to express our appreciation to Shannon for the innumerable contributions she made to our organization.
During Shannon's during tenure as Executive Director, PPA launched the innovative Arts & Healing Program and had our first full-scale original production with the Alumni Company. At the same time, Shannon oversaw key staff changes and her efforts drove PPA to a level of fundraising success that leaves us on sound financial footing. All of this, mind you, during a time of uncertainty and disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank you Shannon! We wish you continued success and happiness in your career and life.