Executive Director | Hancher Auditorium & Office of Performing Arts and Engagement
Board President |National Independent Venue Association
There’s good reasons why Andre Perry is the perfect person to oversee both the University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium and to help lead the National Independent Venue Association.
“I have worked in a lot of different capacities in the live events world,” Perry says. “I’ve overseen festivals, booked small clubs, run historic venues, and now I’m leading a performing arts center program at a university.”
The week before the All-Star interview, Hancher Auditorium’s last three shows were Herbie Hancock, Jason Isbell and Rhiannon Giddens, all of whom could be playing venues significantly larger than the 1,800-capacity performing arts center.
“Our work is a three-way commitment to artists, the campus, and community around us,” said Perry, who takes this mission to heart. “Some of our students grew up in places with lots of cultural resources, but for some, one of our shows might be the first concert they’ve ever seen. It’s amazing to be part of the team that shares that joy.”
Perry first came into contact with NIVA in mid-2020. “I was fully involved in helping their advocacy effort with the federal government, but what really attracted me was the ability to start building community with folks who maybe I didn’t have an immediate connection with in all these different cities, towns and states, but who you had a lot in common with. It was like, ‘How have we not been on the line with all these folks before? ’It seems so elementary, but it took a massive disruption for us to create this community.”
With founding NIVA president and First Avenue head Dayna Frank’s term ending last summer, it seems fitting someone from a PAC should help lead the organization as it broadens its base.
“We’re fighting for a sustainable community across all independent promoters and venues and the live industry,” Perry says. “Not all the wins will be as big as a $16.25 billion federal grant, but there’s going to be a lot of small wins along the way, continually building community and finding new ways to bring useful member services so that operating in this space is more sustainable for everyone.” — Andy Gensler