Solve, Not Study

The hands-on collaboration between the leadership of the four organizations, their boards of directors and corporate and foundation leaders is at the heart of the Art Partnership. Robert Senkler, CEO of Securian Financial Corporation, coined the phrase “solve, not study,” to define success. A Blue Ribbon Committee Report that sat on a shelf unimplemented would NOT be considered success.

This page lists the leaders currently implementing the solution. There are dozens of others – board members, donors, volunteers, consultants – who are also at work solving the problem.


speakerThe Arts Partnership began in 2006 with a committee simply called “The Task Force.” It was co-founded by Carleen Rhodes, President of the St. Paul Foundation, and Bob Senkler, CEO of Securian Corporation. They were joined by the four heads of the participating arts organizations and several other community leaders.

Initially, it was thought that the scheduling problems at the Ordway could be solved by making the existing Music Theater more flexible through the construction of a “slip stage.” However, the cost of the slip stage was much more expensive than anticipated, its construction would have required the Ordway to be closed for at least a year, and once it became operational the slip stage still would not fully solve the problem it was supposed to fix. From this disappointment sprang the solution of converting the 300-seat McKnight Theatre into an 1100-seat Concert Hall. The Concert Hall and the Access Endowment together will finally solve the two long-standing challenges of producing at the Ordway.

The 2006 Task Force

The 2006 Task Force




Jon Limbacher
Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, President and Managing Director

Barry Kempton
The Schubert Club, Artistic and Executive Director

Jamie Grant
Ordway Center, President and CEO

Ryan Taylor
Minnesota Opera, President and General Director


Bill Parker, Ordway Center Board Vice Chair
US Bank

Margaret Wurtele, Minnesota Opera Board Chair

Laura McCarten, Ordway Center Board Member
Regional Vice President, NSP MN

Kim Severson, Schubert Club Board Member
Partner, Dorsey & Whitney

Joseph Tashijan, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra



Bill Parker




Robert Cattanach, Ordway Center Board Chair
Partner, Dorsey & Whitney

James E. Johnson, Minnesota Opera Board Chair
Retired Executive Vice President, Group Insurance Division, Securian

Thomas Handley, Ordway Center Board Member
Senior Executive Vice President Ecolab, Inc.

Nina Archabal, The Schubert Club Board Chair

Dobson West
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra