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Karen Haver '91 Talks Up the Arts

Karen Haver is the executive director of the Berks Art Council in Reading, Pa.; a member of the Washington and Lee Class of 1991; and the subject of a detailed profile in the Reading Eagle. She’s making a pitch for the council’s Greater Reading Film Festival, which begins today, Oct. 25, but Karen, who holds a B.A. in theater, also talks about her career path.

She said that her parents loved musical theater; they took Karen and her sisters to performances as they grew up, and her father served as the technical director for various productions. “I never actually wanted to be on stage,” Karen told the newspaper. “I worked as a stage manager. In fact, for a number of years I was an Actors’ Equity Association stage manager.”

That experience led her to jobs in Virginia, Florida and Pennsylvania, with five years as theater director for the Sovereign Performing Arts Center, volunteer work administering grants, the interim directorship at the Berks Art Council, and finally the executive director’s post there, which she has held since June.

“I’m always amazed by how much the arts can transform a community,” said Karen.

If you are in the Reading area this weekend, check out the film festival, which runs through Oct. 28 and features “The Girls in the Band,” an independent film about female jazz and big-band musicians. It also includes seminars by filmmakers and several other movies.

“Two documentaries, ‘We Are Not Ghosts’ and ‘Shift Change,’ deal with salvaging an ailing city, both offering hope,” said Karen. “And ‘Misa’s Fugue,’ directed by Sean Gaston, was created locally.” Here’s the festival’s schedule.