News |Heike Mertens appointed as new Executive Director of VATMH

Heike Mertens | Photo: Yvan Revazov

The Board of Directors of Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V., in agreement with the Board of Trustees, has appointed Ms. Heike Catherina Mertens new Executive Director of the association, based in Berlin and effective October 1, 2018. Ms. Mertens succeeds Ms. Annette Rupp, who at her own request will leave the association end of September.

Ms. Mertens is a successful cultural manager, who brings to our association longstanding experience in managing cultural and scientific projects and interdisciplinary programs on both sides of the Atlantic. Currently, she serves as Program Director of Hatje Cantz Publishers. Previously, from 2007 until beginning of 2018, she was Executive Board Member Culture, and as of 2015 Chief Executive Board Member of the Schering Foundation. Before this, she served as General Manager of stadkunstprojekte e. V. Her position at the Schering Foundation, in particular, allowed her to build a broad network in culture and science on both sides of the Atlantic. Based on innovative and interdisciplinary projects, she was able to give a clear profile to her work.

The State Minister for Culture, Prof. Monika Grütters MdB, declared: “Heike Catherina Mertens is a really lucky choice for the Executive Board position financed from my cultural budget at the ‘Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House’ association. She has excellent professional experience and networks in culture, science and society. As new Executive Director, she therefore offers the best preconditions for fulfilling her mandate to sponsor creative artists and foster a high-level exchange about questions of our time within the transatlantic dialogue. At the same time, I would like to thank her predecessor, Annette Rupp, for her excellent work, on which Heike Catherina Mertens will be able to build.”

The State Minister in the Foreign Office, Michelle Müntefering, stated in Berlin: “In these turbulent times, the transatlantic dialogue remains a cornerstone of our foreign relations. I am delighted that the Federal Foreign Office, as part of its Foreign Cultural Policy, will continue its financial support for Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V. Villa Aurora and the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles are places of encounters and of cultural exchange. Such breating rooms are indispensable in order to conduct an open, critical and engaged dialogue. The appointment of such an experienced and well-networked interdisciplinary cultural manager such as Ms. Mertens sends a positive signal in this direction.”

Dr. Markus Klimmer, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Villa Auroa & Thomas Mann House e. V. stated: “With Ms. Mertens, we were able to gain a seasoned and broadly experienced cultural manager, who is distinguished by her innovative and interdisciplinary work and will be able to give a clear profile to our work in sponsoring artists and promoting the transatlantic dialogue. This will allow us to continue the excellent work of her predecessor, Ms. Annette Rupp, without interruption.”

Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V. are funded by the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

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