From the Orange Sud Performing Arts Center
This summer the Orange South Performing Arts Center appointed arts visionary Dee Billia as the new CEO, effective immediately.
In this role, Billia chairs the series of performances held in the 439-seat SOPAC Main Theater, several music and comedy shows that take place in the 2,100 square foot loft, the school performance series, various residences. arts and exhibitions in the Herb & Milly Iris Art Gallery.
Throughout her 35-year career in the nonprofit arts administration, Billia has been an innovative leader within the New Jersey arts ecosystem. Previously, she held key roles in some of Garden State’s most esteemed artistic institutions, including the New Jersey Theater Alliance and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Her long-standing commitment, passion and advocacy for the arts, combined with her extensive experience in marketing, public relations, administration, board and management, qualify Billia to be a highly effective CEO of SOPAC., New Jersey’s favorite little performing arts center.
Billia joined SOPAC in 2013 as Director of External Relations. Notably, in this role, she received a Jersey Arts Marketers Leadership Award 2016, which is presented to those who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of the work of Discover Jersey Arts, an ArtPride NJ program. During her tenure at SOPAC, Billia became Acting Executive Director twice: first in June 2019, and again in October 2020. During her second stint in this role, she guided the venue to nonprofit through the difficult times of the Covid-19 mandate. to close. In August 2021, Billia was appointed CEO of SOPAC.
âThe SOPAC Board of Governors is delighted to promote Dee Billia to the role of Chief Executive Officer,â said Chairman of the Board, Paul Bartick. âSOPAC has relied on its firm hand throughout Covid-19 and will continue to do so as we emerge from the pandemic towards the reopening of the theater. “
He continues, âDee has been with us since 2013 and has earned the trust and respect of the Board of Directors, staff and South Orange Village. “
Looking to the future, Bartick comments, âAs we develop our strategic plan, we will be relying heavily on Dee’s experience and wisdom gained through more than three decades of work in the arts community of the New Jersey. We also look forward to his artistic vision of making the shows presented by SOPAC more diverse and inclusive and, therefore, a better reflection of our community.
Billia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from Barry College in Miami, Florida. She has immersed herself in almost every aspect of the performing arts, from performing on stage to directing various backstage operations. She began her career as a classical singer and musical theater performer. For 12 years she was Box Office Manager at the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival (now Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey) in Madison. From there, Billia joined the New Jersey Theater Alliance, where she served as Director of Information Services from 1995 to 2000, then Director of Marketing and Public Relations from 2000 to 2006. During her 11 years at the Alliance , Billia has been an integral creative force in several initiatives, including the first website of a statewide arts organization (njtheatrealliance.org), Family Week at the Theater – a free and at statewide discounted price – and njArtsTix.org, the premier national statewide discount ticketing website for the performing arts. These programs have changed the face of the arts in New Jersey. Fittingly, Billia received the Arts Advocate of the Year award from the Morris Area Arts Council in 2002.
Then in her career, Billia became vice president of communications for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in Newark. While with the State Orchestra, Billia created and implemented the PR strategy and instituted the âmeet the musicianâ section of the poster. Billia’s journey then took her to South Jersey, where she was the Director of External Relations at Appel Farm Arts & Music Center in Elmer from 2007 to 2013. At Appel Farm, she was responsible for the marketing of several programs. including a residential summer camp, an annual concert and family entertainment series at the Landis Theater – a 740-seat venue in Vineland – and the annual arts and music festival which drew 4,000 people. 7,000 participants.
Since 2013, Billia has worked to bring SOPAC into the digital age through social media initiatives and several website redesigns. Deepening her ties with the local community, she currently sits on the South Orange Downtown Board of Directors. Previously, she was a member of the South Orange Village Public Information and Marketing Committee and the South Orange Arts Advisory Council. Billia continues SOPAC’s long-standing partnership with Seton Hall University. Previously, she served on the board of directors of the South Jersey Cultural Alliance, the Harmonium Choral Society and the Florham Opera House.
Since 2006, SOPAC has been a leading performing arts center in the region. SOPAC offers innovative artistic and cultural experiences to diverse audiences in an intimate and inviting environment. The arts center hosts a variety of performances, community events and educational programs for all ages. SOPAC hosts the Seton Hall University Arts Council performances, including the Classical Concert Series, Jazz ‘N the Hall performances and the Seton Hall University Theater productions. SOPAC programs are made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) is a 501 (c) (3) charity. For more information visit SOPACnow.org.