Kassie Hilgert is President and CEO of ArtsQuest, one of the largest nonprofit arts organizations in Pennsylvania. Founded in 1984, ArtsQuest is dedicated to providing unparalleled access to the arts, as well as using arts and culture as key tools for economic development in the region. Each year, it presents over 4,000 concerts, art and educational programs, with 45 percent of this programming available to the community for free.
The organization’s flagship program is Musikfest, a 10-day music festival presented by ArtsQuest each August. With over 500 concerts and one million attendees, the event is one of the largest free music festivals in the country. ArtsQuest also presents Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem, a holiday market that attracts nearly 90,000 visitors annually to Bethlehem, helping to support the region’s popular Christmas tourism program.
In 1998 ArtsQuest transformed a banana distribution warehouse into the Banana Factory community arts center, featuring 34 artists’ studios, three galleries, a glass studio and art classrooms. In 2011, it opened the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, a performing arts center offering concerts, independent films, dance, comedy and more. The SteelStacks campus also includes the Levitt Pavilion, which offers 50 free concerts annually; Air Products Town Square, which includes the Highmark Health Community Stage; the Bethlehem Visitor Center presented by St. Luke’s University Health Network; and PNC Plaza, home to Christkindlmarkt presented by Univest, Oktoberfest presented by Yuengling and Musikfest’s main concert stage.
Hilgert has been with ArtsQuest since 2008, starting as the organization’s Vice President of Advancement before being promoted to Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advancement in 2010. In her role as Senior Vice President, she was responsible for overseeing ArtsQuest’s sponsorship, marketing, development, ticketing, public relations and volunteer departments. Hilgert’s accomplishments with ArtsQuest include playing a key role in helping to raise funds for the development of the $26-million ArtsQuest Center and ArtsQuest’s programming at the SteelStacks arts and cultural campus, the development of strategic partnerships with area nonprofits and leading the development of the organization’s Strategic Plan by meeting with members of ArtsQuest’s boards, volunteer leadership, staff and the community to help shape the nonprofit’s direction and goals for the coming years.
In July 2014, following a national search, Hilgert was unanimously selected by the Board of Trustees to be the organization’s second President & CEO.
A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, Hilgert has extensive experience in marketing, development, corporate communications and community relations. Prior to her arrival at ArtsQuest, she served as Manager of Community Relations and Philanthropy at Air Products and Chemicals. She has also worked at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, where she was the nonprofit’s marketing manager, and began her career at Medstar Television.
Hilgert serves on several nonprofit boards and committees in the region including Boy Scouts of America’s Minsi Trails Council’s Executive Board of Trustees; as Chair on the Discover Lehigh Valley’s Executive Board of Trustees; the Board of Directors for the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation; and, on the PNC Regional Advisory Board. Hilgert also serves on the Eastern PA Girl Scouts Take the Lead Nominating Committee. She has also served on the Good Shepherd Board of Trustees where she chaired the Marketing Committee and the Children’s Home of Easton’s Board of Trustees.