Avenue of the Arts, Inc. Board chair Dianne Semingson announced Laura Burkhardt has been named Executive Director of the organization
PHILADELPHIA, May 26, 2021 Avenue of the Arts, Inc. Board chair Dianne Semingson announced Laura Burkhardt has been named Executive Director of the organization that champions investment in Philadelphia’s theater and cultural arts district, effective June 7th. Burkhardt replaces AAI President Paul Beideman who has led the organization since 2012 and is retiring June 1st.
Burkhardt, a sales and marketing consultant, previously served as Vice President of Tourism Relations for Visit Philadelphia where she was instrumental in bringing the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America series back to Philadelphia. A Baltimore native, she came to the city nearly 20 years ago as publisher for Where magazine. Under her leadership, Where more than doubled its revenue as Burkhardt built strong partnerships with Philadelphia’s travel and hospitality leaders.
“Laura’s relationships within the hospitality industry, along with her reputation for innovation and passion for the city, give her the perfect background to build on Paul’s many accomplishments and lead this organization in this challenging post-pandemic era,” says Semingson. “Her executive and marketing skills, along with her optimism for the future of Philadelphia, is a perfect match for the times.”
“I am looking forward to using my energy and skills to lead an organization that promotes what is quite literally the heart of Philadelphia,” Burkhardt says. “My entire career has been about building relationships and involving stakeholders in a common mission. Together, we can help businesses, arts organizations and residents on the Avenue flourish. I’m very excited about AAI’s potential.” The Avenue of the Arts draws 2.8 million visitors a year, and generates more than $1 billion in economic impact. AAI and its associated organization, Friends of the Avenue of the Arts, work to promote investment, beautification and marketing of the Avenue of the Arts to make the Avenue a great place to live, work, shop and play.