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President Office — Press Release


April 21, 2023

CONTACT: Katie Betta, (850) 487-5229

President Passidomo Appoints Kristen Coury of the Gulfshore Playhouse to the Florida Council on Arts and Culture

Naples —

Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) today appointed Kristen Coury, CEO and Producing Artistic Director of Gulfshore Playhouse, to the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. Ms. Coury’s term of office begins immediately and expires December 31, 2025.

“Kristen’s leadership, and vision were instrumental in growing the Gulfshore Playhouse from a small company producing in a municipal building to a thriving playhouse, with a staff of 50, operating a state-of-the art theatre and education center,” said President Passidomo, herself a lifelong supporter and patron of the arts with a focus on theatre and opera. “I know she will bring the same passion to this role, working to expand the arts footprint in our state, including expanding opportunities for children and families to experience all of the diverse arts and cultural activities Florida has to offer.”

“I’m honored to be appointed to the Florida Council on Arts and Culture,” said Gulfshore Playhouse Founder, CEO & Producing Artistic Director Kristen Coury. “To be able to serve all the artistic endeavors and advocate for the importance of the arts throughout the state and my region of Southwest Florida in such a role is humbling. I look forward to working with Senator Kathleen Passidomo and the entire Council during my tenure.”

Kristen Coury founded the Gulfshore Playhouse in 2004, after moving to Naples from New York City. Kristen’s career began in London, where she worked for the English Shakespeare Company in the Press and Marketing Department.  She has directed nearly 50 Playhouse productions to date, including My Fair Lady, Steel Magnolias, and The Merchant of Venice. 

Kristen is a proud member of the Greater Naples Chamber Board of Commerce.  She was named one of the Top 100 Most Influential Business Leaders in Collier County in 2021 and 2022. Additionally, she was named a “Leading Lady” by Naples Illustrated in 2018, one of the Men and Women of the Year by Gulfshore Life in 2013, a “Star in the Arts” by the United Arts Council of Collier County in 2011, and one of the “Top 40 Professionals Under 40” by Gulfshore Life Magazine in 2008.

Gulfshore Playhouse

Since its founding in 2004, Gulfshore Playhouse has established itself as a preeminent, nationally-recognized regional theatre in Southwest Florida. In the coming years, Gulfshore Playhouse will enter its next stage as it moves into the Baker Theatre and Education Center, a state-of-the-art facility currently in construction on the corner of 1st Avenue S and Goodlette-Frank Rd.

The Florida Council on Arts and Culture

The Florida Council on Arts and Culture is a 15-member advisory council appointed to advise the Secretary of State regarding cultural grant funding and on matters pertaining to arts and culture in Florida.

Appointments to the Council are determined by the Governor, President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, in consultation with the Secretary of State. The Governor manages seven seats that serve four-year terms. The President and Speaker manage four seats each, with terms of two years. The appointments are based on geographic representation, as well as demonstrated history of community service in the arts and culture.