Festival at Sandpoint announces new executive director

By Reader Staff

The Festival at Sandpoint announced Ali Baranski as the new executive director on Dec. 23. As executive director, Baranski will work closely with the board to ensure the nonprofit organization can continue to adapt to serve the community through the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and beyond. One of her first acts as director will be to orchestrate what the Festival at Sandpoint looks like for 2021.

Ali Baranski, left, and Amy Bistline, right, in the Festival at Sandpoint office. Photo by Zach Hagadone.

Baranski, a Sandpoint resident since 2013, has served on the Festival at Sandpoint’s Board of Directors since May 2018 and has held the role of interim executive director since Nov. 2019. 

“We are extremely excited to have Ali step into the role of executive director,” said Bob Witte, president of the board of directors. “The last year has presented a number of challenges to the Festival. However, during this time we have focused our energy on evolving, adapting and revaluating every aspect of our organization. We enter 2021 with a newfound sense of optimism and excitement for what the future holds and there is no person better equipped to help move our organization forward than Ali”.

Baranski’s hiring comes as the foundation looks to write the next chapter in its rich history. In December, the Board completed a long-term strategic planning process which was facilitated by an independent third party to ensure the Festival at Sandpoint’s mission is in alignment with the needs and desires of the community. This process included focus groups and interviews with community members, providing the Festival insight into the overarching needs in the community.

“I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to lead the Festival at Sandpoint,” Baranski said. “The organization has such a rich history and meaning to this community and to me personally. I look forward to being a part of the effort to bring the organization to the next level, making a positive impact in our community and helping to cultivate a love of music in youth across our community. Our planning and booking for our 2021 Festival are already well underway. In working with industry and medical experts, we have put considerations and plans in place to hold the 2021 Festival at Sandpoint with safety and potential limited-capacity measures in mind. We are beyond excited to gather again this summer for a fantastic season.”

To support Baranski in the day-to-day operations of the Festival, the Board is also excited to welcome Hailey Cecie to the organization in the role of Office Manager.

To learn more about the Festival at Sandpoint, visit festivalatsandpoint.com.


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