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2018 Annual Guide: Barnstable

David Kuehn Barnstable

David Kuehn. Photo by Teagan Anne

A day in the life of: David Kuehn, executive director of the Cotuit Center for the Arts

By Haley Cote

If you told David Kuehn 15 years ago that he would one day be the executive director of a community arts center on Cape Cod, he’d have scoffed at the notion. As he puts it, his mindset at the time was, “The only good art that happens anywhere is in New York City and nowhere else ever.”

But a conversation at a party in 2008 changed everything for Kuehn. Discussing community theater, an acquaintance told him, “You’ve had 25 years working in this business doing what you love, meeting the most talented musicians on the entire planet, but that doesn’t mean people don’t have talent who live in other places, and it doesn’t mean communities don’t need a place where their members can express themselves artistically.” To Kuehn, it was like a light bulb switched on. A year later, he was introduced to Jim Hoeck, board president of the Cotuit Center for the Arts. “When he offered me the job here, I took that moment at that party to heart and very excitedly accepted.”

Since starting as executive director in March of 2010, Kuehn says he has set out to make the Cotuit Center as accessible as possible to the broadest range of people, while providing the highest possible quality of artistic expression across the board. From an expansive arts program that includes Broadway-worthy theater productions, concerts featuring local and national acts, art exhibits and over 100 classes a year, to a network of community partnerships that offer opportunities in the arts to disadvantaged youth and adults, it’s safe to say Kuehn is fulfilling his mission, and then some.

“It’s been a really gratifying journey to have the community embrace what we’re doing,” he says. “People who come here feel ownership, they feel a sense of pride, and that’s just exponential.”

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