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Last updated: Wed. Jun. 04, 2014 - 06:37 am EDT

Audiences Unlimited restructuring leadership, expanding service focus

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Local nonprofit group Audiences Unlimited announced plans Tuesday to restructure its leadership and expand its service.

Current Managing Director Anna Ross will become executive director July 1. Current Executive Director Lillian Embick will receive the title of Founder and will continue to volunteer part time.

Embick and her late husband, Byron, founded Audiences Unlimited in 1972, and she has served as its volunteer executive director ever since. She will continue to coordinate the organization's program to take people from nursing homes and retirement centers to music, dance, stage and other performances out in the community, Ross said.

Ross was hired as managing director in 2012 as part of a leadership transition plan instituted by the organization's board of directors, a news release said.

Audiences Unlimited also adopted a new mission statement, which states it will strive to create “cultural experiences that enrich the lives of people with limited access to the arts.”

The new focus means looking beyond the organization's longtime client base — older adults in nursing homes and retirement communities — to include people of all ages, Ross said.

Audiences Unlimited will continue to serve older adults, she said. But it also will look over the next six to eight months to form partnerships with other organizations that work with people who have disabilities, lower incomes or other challenges that prevent them from enjoying local arts programs and performances.

“The arts enrich our souls,” Ross said. “They also help us have social experiences together — to share time and memories together.”

Audiences Unlimited already has begun working with a local adult day-care program to take some of their clients to musical performances, Ross said.

Expanding the range of clients it serves will cost more, so the organization will use part of a nearly $1 million endowment Embick helped raise, Ross said.

Audiences Unlimited also will seek more grants and foundation gifts, as well as try to increase donations.

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