Umpqua Valley Arts announced that Emily Brandt has been selected by the board of directors as its next executive director.

Brandt has served the organization as board president since 2018, and assumed her new leadership role June 1. Her appointment comes as the organization prepares to host its 52nd Annual Summer Arts Festival the last weekend of June and celebrate its 50th Anniversary this year.

“We are ecstatic to welcome Emily as our new executive director as we enter our 50th year of operations in Douglas County,” said Kirk Harvey, UVA board president, “She brings with her extensive management and leadership experience and we are confident that her commitment and passion for both the arts and community will help move our organization forward at this poignant moment in time.”

Brandt has experience in placemaking and urban design, community building efforts, community relations, and project management.

“I’m a strong believer in the positive impact arts and culture centers bring to communities- especially rural communities like ours,” Brandt said, “We are incredibly lucky to have a nonprofit located here in the umpqua valley dedicated to supporting arts appreciation and arts education. All forms of art, design, and cultural experiences contribute to the richness of the region and this all takes place and continues to thrive at UVA.”

Brandt joins the UVA team from i.e. Engineering, where she has worked as a Project Manager, Landscape Designer and Planner since 2014. She holds B.A. degrees in International Studies and Business from University of Iowa, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from Mississippi State University. Her background in urban and landscape design has led to her passion for creative placemaking efforts, enhancing the urban environment through public art, and supporting artists and art education efforts for both youth and adults.

Brandt has been deeply involved in the Roseburg community through projects at i.e. Engineering and by board service with UVA, Roseburg Sister Cities, UCC Foundation, Umpqua Valley Habitat for Humanity, and Downtown Roseburg Association.

“Throughout my life experiences, it’s become crystal clear how imperative the creative process is in building strong and thriving communities.” Brandt said, “Whether you are a maker or an appreciator of the arts, we all need the arts in our lives. This is especially true at this moment in time as our nation begins to reopen, recover, and we are finally able to reconnect with one another.”

Brandt replaces Interim Executive Director Sandee McGee, UVA’s longtime Gallery Director, who assumed the role in June 2020. After two extensive nation-wide search processes, Brandt rose to the top as the clear candidate to lead the organization out of the Covid era into its 50th year of supporting the arts and culture scene in the Umpqua Valley.

“I’ve enjoyed serving on the board of directors for the last four years and am now honored to step into the role of executive director for the organization,” Brandt said, “I’m thrilled to be leading our talented team of staff and volunteers towards expanding arts and culture programming at UVA for the betterment of our entire community, now and for many generations to come.”

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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