Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp Appoints New President and CEO

Business News, Community News |May 21, 2024|5 min read

TWIN LAKE – The Blue Lake Board of Trustees has named Dr. Gary Mortenson as the new President and CEO of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Inc.

Mortenson’s background as an effective music educator and administrator in higher education, combined with his deep passion for arts education and personal history with Blue Lake will help to advance the impact and objectives of the organization, currently in its 58th season of operation. “We are thrilled to welcome Gary as our new President and CEO,” said Donald Flickinger, Senior Vice President and Chair of the Board of Trustees. “He will bring a keen sense of administrative leadership and artistic vision to our organization. We look forward to future endeavors in furthering our mission and goals with Gary at the helm.”

When Mortenson assumes the role October 1, he will aim to broaden scope, reach, and impact for the organization, which consists of three divisions: Summer Camp, International Exchange, and Blue Lake Public Radio. Mortenson will also lead community engagement and development initiatives. “I look forward to the opportunity to align my life experience and dedication to the fine arts by returning to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp – a place that my family fondly remembers as our ‘summer home’. Over the decades, we experienced all the camp had to offer artistically, educationally, and through the cohesive culture Blue Lake nurtures in a pristine natural setting,” said Mortenson.

Mortenson recently completed his tenure in higher education administration at Baylor University where he served as Dean of the School of Music for nine years and as Interim Provost for thirteen months during a time when the university was laying the groundwork to become an R1 research institution. Prior to his appointments at Baylor, he served as Director of the School of Music, Theater, and Dance; Music Department Head; Chair of Graduate Studies in Music; and Professor of Trumpet at Kansas State University. Dr. Mortenson holds the Doctor of Music Arts from the University of Texas at Austin, Master of Music in Performance from Ithaca College, and Bachelor of Music Education from Augustana Collage. He holds a post-doctoral certificate in Management and Development from Harvard University.

Mortenson succeeds Vice President of Operations and Interim President Heidi Stansell, who assumed the role in 2020 after the retirement of Fritz Stansell, Founder and President Emeritus of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. “Blue Lake will continue to move forward as a vibrant cultural institution and center for arts education. With our new President in place, the organization will thrive in its endeavors, benefiting young artists, lifelong learners, and arts patrons for years to come,” said Stansell, who will remain in her role as Vice President of Operations. “I sincerely look forward to partnering with Dr. Mortenson in furthering Blue Lake’s mission and impact.”

Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, INC. Located on a 1,600 acre campus in West Michigan, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Inc. is a well-established, nationally recognized nonprofit organization comprised of three major divisions, including a summer school of the arts, an international exchange program, and a classical/jazz/NPR public radio station. Founded in 1966 and currently in its 58th season of operation, the organization annually serves 4,000 students, 35,000 listeners, and thousands of festival attendees. Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp’s overarching objective is to create lifelong artists, enthusiasts, and patrons by offering quality arts education for all ages in a welcoming environment focused on encouragement and growth.

Summer Camp
Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp strives to maintain an atmosphere where students who want to learn may do so in an environment which encourages creativity and recognizes the importance of the individual. Students are accepted at whatever their proficiency level may be and are encouraged to grow. Faculty and staff strive to motivate campers and share with them the joy of achievement in
the fine arts. Enthusiasm is contagious at Blue Lake as campers discover, learn, experience, and succeed. Within the Summer Camp division, Blue Lake offers the Suzuki Family Camp, Lifelong Arts, Summer Camp for grades 5 – 12, and the Chamber Music for Fun program. The Summer Camp division employs 750 seasonal positions in counseling and health staff, faculty and conductors, and local support staff.

International Exchange Program
The Blue Lake International Exchange Program seeks to cultivate international understanding among our youth. With the expectation of fostering new friendships through common ground, we aim to create future leaders in all aspects of our society who can help promote peace through a broader appreciation of the world. Since the beginning of the program, Blue Lake International has visited more than 1,700 communities in nineteen different countries. Additionally, Blue Lake has welcomed thousands of visiting European and Asian campers and performing groups as a part of this unique exchange program.

Public Radio Station
On the air since 1982, Blue Lake Public Radio’s mission is to serve as West Michigan’s voice of the arts, providing the region with the highest quality arts and cultural programming available through its classical, jazz, and NPR news offerings. Broadcast studios are located on the campus of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. We broadcast at WBLV 90.3 in Muskegon and WBLU 88.9 in Grand Rapids. Blue Lake Public Radio also streams through an app and online at Blue Lake Public Radio.