The Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens has announced the elevation of two in-house personnel to interim executive roles, with the upcoming departure of current Executive Director Amy Behrens.
Behrens will move on to another executive position at a different arts and culture institution in August after serving at Casa Romantica for nearly eight years.
“I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished at Casa Romantica over the last seven years, and I will truly miss this organization and our team,” she said. “I was offered the opportunity to take on a transformative leadership role at Maryhill Museum of Art in Washington State early this year when Casa Romantica was experiencing unprecedented success, and it is a role that I have dreamed of personally and professionally.”
In Behrens’ stead, Kylie Travis and Jacqui Groseth will fulfill the roles of executive director of Operations and Programming and executive director of Resource Development and Administration, respectively. Travis currently is the Programs & Marketing director, and Groseth the Development director.
Casa Romantica heaped praise upon Behrens for her work in increasing the center’s visibility and dramatically multiplied annual subscriptions and cultural programming events.
In a press release announcing the departure, Casa Romantica’s Board of Trustees wished Behrens luck going forward, and also expressed the “utmost confidence” in Travis and Groseth.
Groseth this week also spoke about her promotion.
“Kylie and I are grateful for the trust that has been placed in us and are eager to embark on this new chapter with the entire Casa Romantica community,” she said. “While titles may change, our collective vision and dedication remain unwavering. As co-executive directors, we are committed to preserving Casa Romantica’s legacy of artistic and cultural excellence.”
The two co-executives will be tasked with leading the organization through a transition phase and continued fundraising efforts to restabilize its finances following two landslides on the property in late April and early June.
Casa Romantica recently announced the second phase of its rebuilding campaign titled “Building Hope, Preserving History,” which has seen donations from local entities such as the San Clemente Rotary Club. The Rotary has given $2,000 and 25 sets of puzzles featuring work from noted local artist Rick Delanty.
The organization has also combined with nearby restaurants and businesses for “Dine-in Days,” with the next event starting Aug. 1 at the San Clemente Valero at 504 Avenida de la Estrella. Throughout August, Valero will donate one cent for every gallon of gas sold.
As for Casa Romantica’s annual Toast to the Casa gala, the nonprofit also announced that it will hold this year’s event on Sept. 30 at The Casino San Clemente, marking the first time the yearly fundraiser is held at an offsite venue.
Jazz band Lizzy and the Triggermen will perform at “The Golden Age of Hollywood”-themed event.
The annual event serves as an opportunity to gather together, celebrate Casa Romantica’s legacy, and raise critical funds for its restoration efforts,” the nonprofit said in its announcement, adding, “The event promises an enchanting evening of entertainment, delectable cuisine, and a chance to reconnect with the community in support of a beloved cultural landmark.”
Speaking further to her and Groseth’s intentions for their new executive positions, Travis explained what areas on which they intend to focus.
“Our primary focus during this transition will be maintaining stability, fostering a supportive work environment, and ensuring that Casa Romantica continues to thrive,” said Travis. “We are committed to open communication, collaboration, and transparency as we collectively tackle the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”
Casa Romantica is hosting a farewell party for Behrens during its Twilight Tuesdays event on July 25, from 5-8 p.m.