Posted Jan 14, 2020 at 8:01 AM
Old School Square’s new chief ready to ‘change lives through the arts’
Old School Square began 2020 with a new vision: to rebrand the Delray Beach historic site to better tell the city’s story. “Old School Square has been open for 29 years and there are many in the community who do not know what we offer and what we do,” said Shannon Eadon, Old School Square’s new president and CEO. “We as a team want to change that.”
Eadon, 61, previously led the Bergen Performing Arts Center, a nonprofit theater in Englewood, New Jersey. “I’m thrilled to be leading such a dynamic team of professionals here at Old School Square, and I’m excited about the launch of our new educational and outreach initiatives,” said the Delray resident.
Eadon’s immediate goals are to add educational and outreach programs to schools, hospitals, nursing homes and veterans organizations. “We do not save lives at Old School Square, we change lives through the arts,” Eadon said. “We entertain, engage and teach the arts through music, dance, the performing arts and fine arts.”
Eadon was found through a national search for a new CEO, which discovered her success in building lasting relationships and a successful cultural mecca at the Bergen Performing Arts Center. Eadon, who “grew up all over the country,” attended Sweet Briar College in Virginia and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Denver. Prior to her role at the Bergen, she served as the senior vice president at Rosenfeld, Sirowitz, Humphrey and Strauss, a New York City ad agency. She and her husband, Gordon, had two kids, daughter Logan and son Tucker. Having a young family prompted her to start her own event company doing major weddings and charitable events in Monmouth County, New Jersey. She sat on the executive committees of several large charitable organizations in New Jersey. She credits the Bergen for instilling her passion for the arts and arts education.
Now, she’s looking forward to bringing that passion to Old School Square.
“I could not be prouder of the exciting programming that we have to offer,” Eadon said. “Now through the spring, our Cornell Art Museum is showcasing ‘Art Couture: The Intersection of Art and Fashion.’” The exhibition includes illustrations and clothing created by well-known fashion designers as well as contemporary art inspired by iconic designs in the fashion world. It includes pieces by artists such as Andy Warhol and Delray Beach fashion designer of “Project Runway” recognition, Amanda Perna (House of Perna).
“Our Creative Arts School provides a robust selection of fine art, photography, writing and children’s classes, and beginning next year we’re looking to expand our course offerings into the performing arts,” Eadon said. “Lastly, those who seek an intimate entertainment experience will be charmed by our upcoming season upon the Crest Theatre and outdoor pavilion stages.”
Who is your hero?
My father, G. Lee Thompson. He led by example and finished his career as the president and CEO of a Fortune 500 Company. With his family, he was open, honest, a straight shooter and told us he supported and loved us every day.
What is your favorite movie?
“The Wizard of Oz.” It inspires children to be brave, fearless and compassionate.
What are your hobbies?
I love to ski, play pickleball, read and garden.
What do you do to get away or take a break?
I love to travel and explore new cities and countries and attend music festivals.
If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be?
Susan B. Anthony, the leader of the suffrage movement. She was one of the first women to stand up for women’s rights.
What event in history would you have liked to have witnessed?
I would have loved to see the opening of Disneyland. Walt Disney was a marketing, arts and entertainment genius as evidenced by the legacy he left and the success of his dream today.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Trail riding my horse with my best friends through the woods and fields all day in Wilton, Connecticut.