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Meet the 2020 Co-chairs

We are excited to announce your co-chairs for the 2020 Arts Midwest Conference in Omaha, September 9–12, 2020. Please welcome:

  • Emily Behrmann, General Manager, Performing Arts/Carlsen Center, Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas
  • Pat Hazell, Chief Creative Officer at Sweetwood Creative in Austin, Texas

Both are passionate advocates for the performing arts and leaders among their peers in the field, and they will work closely with Arts Midwest staff in the coming year to plan the Conference.

Emily Behrmann

Emily has spent over 30 years in arts administration in the Greater Kansas City area, first with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and the Kansas City Symphony.

When Johnson County Community College (JCCC) in Overland Park, Kansas built a performing arts center, Emily jumped at the chance to join the team in 1991 as Volunteer/House Manager. Building on her experience working with volunteers, she then spent 14 years in the Foundation Office at JCCC, raising money for the arts, scholarships and capital projects, culminating with the campaign to raise funds for JCCC’s Regnier Center and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, both on the campus.

She has served on boards and as an adviser for many non-profit organizations in her community, currently with the Lenexa, KS Arts Council, Kansas School of Classical Ballet and Kansas Public Radio.

In 2016, Emily became a Certified Performing Arts Executive through the University of New Orleans Graduate Program in Arts Administration and the North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents Association. She received the Johnson County Library Foundation’s Pinnacle Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2013.

Emily spent her youth performing in musical theatre and singing choral music. After receiving a degree in Music and Vocal Performance from the Conservatory of Music and Dance at University of Missouri-Kansas City, she performed with the Kansas City Community Opera and was a member of the Kansas City Symphony Chorus. Her stage presence was put to good use as host of JCCC-TV’s “Discover JCCC” and cooking segments, and for seven years, she acted as emcee for the Polsky Practical Personal Enrichment Series at JCCC. She’s known for her entertaining curtain speeches, which may include singalongs, engagement proposals, and looking for fire exits.

In her spare time, Emily gardens, and hikes the trails of Johnson County, KS and beyond, with her husband, Ken.


Emily Behrmann. Photo by Susan McSpadden.

Pat Hazell

Pat Hazell is Chief Creative Officer at Sweetwood Creative: Your Humor Resources Department in Austin, TX. He attended his first Arts Midwest Conference 18 years ago and has since been involved with its New Colleague Program as a mentor and Professional Development Committee.

As creator and producer at Sweetwood Creative, Pat is dedicated to developing original theatrical experiences for the performing arts market, including The Wonder Bread Years, The Good Humor Men, A Kodachrome Christmas, Bunkbed Brothers, My Funny Valentine, and Pat Hazell’s Permanent Record.

Pat is one of the original writers on the TV series Seinfeld, the creator of the NBC sitcom American Pie and a creative consultant for numerous projects in development. As a commercial director he has directed campaigns for USAA Insurance and DrinkWorks. He is currently working on a musical adaptation of his play Grounded For Life with composer Lawerence Goldberg.

Hazell spent his formative years in Omaha performing in clubs, at restaurants, and on street corners in the Old Market. This lead to a life in stand-up comedy with appearances on The Tonight Show with both Johnny Carson and Jay Leno.

The production he is proudest of is that of his two sons Tucker & Keaton, heirs to the family sarcasm fortune.


Pat Hazell. Photo by Lia Chang.

Join Emily and Pat by adding your voice to the Conference

The Conference team depends on attendee input and feedback to guide its planning each year, and we want to hear from everybody! Join Emily and Patby nominating yourself for the Professional Development Committee or Spotlight Showcase Panel. Committee members serve their 2-year term by participating in 4 calls per Conference. Panelists must be available the week of April 13 for travel to Minneapolis. Nominations are due December 12.

Professional Development Committee >

Spotlight Showcase Panel >

We’re also seeking input for programming opportunities and Professional Development, and we welcome all ideas—whether it’s a fully developed session, a skill that needs to be refreshed, or simply an issue of interest. Proposals received by January 16 will be considered for the 2020 Conference.

Propose a session, topic, or speaker >