Executive Director

Xavier Verna

photo by Crescent Rose Photography LLC

Executive Director, Xavier Verna, arrived at the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts (RRCA) in 2017 after having served for five years as Director of Education for the Sphinx Organization in Detroit, MI. Xavier is also involved in state-wide efforts to support other Michigan arts and cultural organizations as a governor-appointed council member for the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and serves as the past president for the Michigan Presenters Network.

Xavier brings collaborative energy from his time at Sphinx. At Sphinx, Xavier expanded its educational programming profile to a national level, which received one of the highest honors at the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards, hosted by former First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House. He oversaw the development of local and national programming. In Detroit and Flint, Xavier worked with 12-15 schools annually to provide free after-school programming on violin. He led summer programs while working with major institutions such as Roosevelt University, Oberlin Conservatory, and Cleveland Institute of Music. in 2013, Xavier launched the annual conference on diversity in the arts, SphinxConnect (formerly known as SphinxCon), inviting 30 speakers from the national and international sector.

Xavier’s collaborative energy has increased partnerships within the Manistee community with local and regional business leaders and corporations to support programming and operations at the RRCA. Xavier has transformed the performing and visual arts programs at the Ramsdell by diversifying its content making them more accessible to everyone. He strengthens existing programs through successful fundraising that advance the mission and fund major capital investments. More recently he has led the transformation of the art gallery space in Hardy Hall and state-of-the-art upgrades to the Ramsdell Theatre’s sound system.

Facilities and Operations Manager

Michael “Mik” Mikula

photo by Chris Wucherer

Prior to joining the RRCA, Mik had a long and successful career in the theatre. After moving away from Manistee 28 years ago, Mik studied at the Royal National Theater in London, England, and received his BFA in Theatre Arts, both in design and performance, from Stephens College for Women. He studied at the Royal Shakespeare Company with Antony Sher, Fiona Shaw, Richard Eyre, John Barton, Patrick Stewart, Janet McTyre, and others. Mik also served as Technical Director for the Medora Musical in Medora, North Dakota. After returning to Michigan, Mik worked at Interlochen Center for the Arts, and as Director of Theatre at West Shore Community College.

Mik has been a professional theatre artist for more than 25 years, throughout the United States, primarily Midwest. He is a director, has worked in education, repertory summer theatre, all aspects of technical theatre, touring management, fundraising, grant writing, film television, voice-over, print, industrials, and others. He is versed in all areas of technical theatre including design, technical direction, production management, lighting design and master electrician, sound design and technician, prop master and design, stage management, special effects, and construction.

He has worked in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul for more than 20 years, working on over 50 professional productions at that time. For 7 years Mik worked for Troupe America as Company Manager, Production Manager and Technical Director for the four of the five different Church Basement Ladies National Tours, having logged more than 200,000 miles touring,  in more than 250 different venues, and as Technical Director for the Medora Musical in Medora, North Dakota.  In addition, Mik has been a director for the Lakeshore Players Summer Youth Program, for 10 years. He has worked as an improvisational actor for Who-Done-It, and also works as a director and theatre technician, in addition to working in film, television, industrials, print, and voice-overs.