BEHIND THE SCENES: Katie Luna, Executive Director of Festival Dance and Performing Arts Association

While accountant Katie Luna may not be a professional dancer, her arts and past assistant experiences have proved to be vital as the new executive director of Festival Dance and Performing Arts Association. Luna, 24, stepped into the role a few weeks ago as Cindy Barnhart resigned to take a position at Washington State University, and here, Luna tells of her day-to-day role as well as her interest in the arts.

What do you do as executive director? Everything. You have to be very adaptable. There are so many different things that you have to be able to

juggle back from one thing to the next thing. So on the typical day, it can be working out a contract for one of our great performance series to then talking to an academy parent about what class their kid wants to be in, and then going in and talking to a sponsor and trying to do a radio ad.

How does your accounting experience help? I got my master's of accountancy at the University of Idaho and I kind of overlapped a little bit with graduation and working here as the executive assistant. The transition has been really smooth, because of the things I’ve already been doing ... I still do all of the QuickBooks things and pay the taxes and do the payroll. I picked accounting because I wanted to start my own arts non-profit.

Why an arts non-profit? I originally thought I maybe wanted to get my degree in art. Then, I thought, well, I really want to do an arts non-profit, and I thought it would be something with painting or sculpture. I actually won a ton of awards in high school for art. The Spokane Watercolor Society, that award, and the Spokane Scholar, I was nominated for the art category as well. I really was passionate about art.

Does visual arts overlap with your job in the performing arts? The arts is a broad category because there are so many different types ... It’s a great way for people to express themselves. It’s a good outlet and it’s enjoyable for people and it’s fun and it’s a good way to express your culture and diversity. That’s one of my favorite things about Festival Dance, is that it’s accessible to everyone. Anyone can dance.

Do you have any dance experience? I took ballet, jazz, tap. I did gymnastics. I had taken dance from all the way when I was in pre-school and then part-way through high school. It’s nice, just to know especially what parents are going through. My dad didn’t know how to do a ballet bun and when I was younger, they had to have a special class to teach the parents to do ballet buns, because I never had mine correct. So now, we actually have a video on the Festival Dance website on how to do a proper ballet bun and how to do proper make-up and how to do the shows for Celtic and pointe shoes. I think it helps knowing about costumes.

What task do you do that people wouldn’t expect of an executive director? A lot of lifting things in heels, and carrying things around in heels. Some of our signs are pretty big ... I’m trying to stick with shorter heels, because there’s so much heavy lifting.

What’s your favorite Broadway musical? My husband’s a theater major, so it’s hard to just pick one. We saw “Come Fly With Me,” the Frank Sinatra one, and that was really good recently. We were in the second row and it was so impressive ... My favorite things about Broadway shows are the costumes. One of my favorite parts of this job is we get a big stack of costume catalogs every single year, and I love looking through them and going, ‘Oh, this would be so cute,’ and coming up with themes for the recital. Treffry can be contacted at (208) 883-4640 or ltreffry@inland360.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @LindseyTreffry.

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