Last Friday, the New York International Fringe Festival announced that it was closing for a year to re-evaluate its institutional priorities and directions. The Minnesota Fringe Festival’s riposte today was less seismic, but still a significant change for one of the anchors of the Twin Cities performing arts scene. Executive Director Jeff Larson announced on Facebook this afternoon that he will be stepping down before the end of the month.
Larson first began working for the Minnesota Fringe Festival as a technician in 1999, rising to technical director in 2001, director of production and sponsorship in 2007, associate director in 2009, and finally executive director in 2013. When he steps down this fall, it will mark some 17 years of working for Fringe – an impressive professional tenure, especially considering that Larson was only 24 when he first joined. In his announcement, Larson said, “I’ve spent so long teaching Fringe artists to be entrepreneurial that there was no way I wasn’t going to get the bug myself, and I’ve been working on starting a (non-theater) business. It’s nearly time for that to get my full-time attention, and I couldn’t be more excited.” Larson cited working with Robin Gillette (his predecessor as Executive Director of the Fringe Festival), arts consulting, and an Italian vacation as opportunities that he planned to explore.
The staff of the Twin Cities Arts Reader would like to congratulate Jeff Larson on his long and successful tenure with the Fringe Festival.