By Robb Murray
---- — MANKATO — Barbe Marshall Hansen, the woman who has guided the Twin Rivers Council for the Arts for the past year and a half, announced she will be leaving that position by the end of the month.
Hansen, who had previously worked in the Twin Cities, followed Shannon Robinson in that position.
Steph Stoffel, president of the Twin Rivers Board of Directors, said Hansen put the board in a position to be successful in the future.
"We're so sad that Barbe is leaving because she's done such an excellent job for Twin Rivers," Stoffel said. "She's helped Twin Rivers grow and stabilize."
Twin Rivers is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the arts. It offers studio space to artists and meeting space to arts groups. It also helps foster connections between the community, businesses, schools and arts groups.
According to Hansen's bio on the Twin Rivers website, Hansen came to Minnesota from San Francisco. She worked with the American Conservatory Theatre, Magic Theatre, San Francisco’s Playwrights’ Center, the Guthrie Theater, The Xperimental Theatre, Chameleon, Red Eye, and others.
She was also development director for Penumbra Theatre during their four-year restructuring plan "when they retired nearly $600,000 in old debt, and during their New Era Campaign which secured more than $3 million," the website says. She holds a bachelor of fine arts in music theater from the University of Nebraska and an MFA in directing from the University of Minnesota.
"In Mankato I've met so many great people," Hansen said. "I really felt welcomed. I love that Mankato is such a unique community."
Stoffel said Twin Rivers will conduct a national search to Hansen's replacement. Until that person is chosen, which Stoffel said should be by mid-March, the organization's communications coordinator, Corrie Eggimann, will serve as executive director.
Hansen brought a lot of strengths to the job, not the least of which was her passion for the arts.
"With Barbe we got this kind of leap forward in energy," Stoffel said. "We've also stabilized, and that's a good thing. Transition's always tough, but because she helped up put the right staff in place, everyone's clear about their responsibilities are, so when we look at Barbe leaving, it's not terribly traumatic."
Hansen said she'll be working for a company in the Twin Cities.