WICKENBURG, Ariz. – Cathy Weiss Pereira has served the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts in a number of capacities since its inception in 1997. She has decided to relinquish her current role as CEO in June 2024 at the conclusion of Camp Imagination.
Weiss Pereira was one of the original community members who envisioned a state-of-the-art theatre on the new high school campus. One in which students, residents, and visitors to the greater Wickenburg area could engage in a wide variety of live, performing arts. As one of the founding board members of the not-for-profit organization, she was tasked with helping to raise funds for building construction. A donation of $1.1 million from the Del E. Webb Foundation changed the trajectory of the fledgling not-for-profit, fast-tracking the theatre’s completion and opening season in 2001.
“We had a very dedicated board of directors, including Kevin Cloe, Royce Kardinal Ferree, and Beth Gallant,” reminisces Weiss Pereira. “We hosted Sock Hops, Dog Shows, Bus Trips to Laughlin – you name it – we were very grassroots in our fundraising efforts.”
Weiss Pereira transitioned from board member to Executive Director in June 2003. Since then the organization has grown and flourished under her steady leadership. The organization’s current body of work includes presenting national and international touring artists, hosting an artist residency program, offering free student performances and producing a summer arts camp.
“My favorite time of the year is Camp Imagination,” Weiss Pereira shares. “I love watching the campers learn new theatre skills and gain the self-confidence to stand on that stage singing their hearts out for family and friends to witness. Seeing them grow, year after year, at camp is so rewarding.”
Reflecting on her tenure, Weiss Pereira is proud of what has been accomplished with the dedicated support of staff, board members and volunteers. She insists, “This has been a community effort from the start and will continue to thrive long after my departure.”
Helping find a potential applicant to take over the reins is Los Angeles-based search firm Arts Consulting Group. They will conduct a nationwide search, narrow it down to 2-3 highly qualified candidates, and bring them on site for tours and interviews. The current timeline is to have the new CEO hired by March 2024 so they have an opportunity to shadow Weiss Pereira and gain hands on training before her retirement.
Recently Weiss Pereira was recognized for her efforts in Arizona’s Arts & Culture sector with ONMedia’s Arts Hero award. She is currently a finalist for the inaugural Arizona Creative Excellence Award’s “Oonagh Award.” Named for Oonagh Boppart, an instrumental philanthropist for the Desert Botanical Garden and other cultural organizations, the award recognizes those who champion collaborative efforts among public and private sectors to advance the arts in Arizona.
Weiss Pereira is looking forward to spending more time with her husband and dogs as well as volunteering in the community and traveling in her retirement years ahead.