The Cedar Welcomes New Program & Artistic Director Jessica Rau

Jessica_Rau_02 copyThe Cedar Cultural Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization, is pleased to announce the appointment of its new Program and Artistic Director Jessica Rau. “As The Cedar opens on its 28th Season, we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Jessica to our team. She brings with her strong community connections and a deep history in performing arts,” says Executive Director Adrienne Dorn.

Rau comes to The Cedar from the Minnesota Orchestra, where she was the Manager of Community Engagement and Innovation. She spearheaded the organization’s OH+ (Orchestra Hall Plus), a program that provides context and engagement around the Orchestra’s main performances and led the Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Committee. She is a recipient of the Joy M. Query Prize for excellence in Social Sciences and holds a Master of Science degree in Anthropology from North Dakota State University. Rau has focused her work in the arts work on access, diversity, community engagement, and youth. Over her career, she has participated in arts leadership exchanges, cultural leadership networks, and youth and philanthropy events, while continuing her work in her spare time as an artist as a vocalist, wig maker, and theatrical makeup artist.

“The Cedar looks different today than it did five years ago, and this new Program and Artistic Director position really speaks to that change.” says Dorn. “Jessica’s background in the arts makes her a great leader to forge synergy between our new programs like Midnimo with the year-round season of shows we have been presenting for decades. It unlocks the door to a new realm of potential for The Cedar, and I’m excited to see it in action.”  

Rau will lead The Cedar’s new Program Department, which includes Grace Evenson (Booking Coordinator) and Fadumo Ibrahim (Program Manager). She will be responsible for further developing and driving forward The Cedar’s artistic vision, forging and cultivating relationships with artists and specific cultural communities, and acting as the lead person to implement all grant-funded programming, including Midnimo, The Cedar Commissions, and the Global Roots Program.

“I’m so excited to work at an organization that carries such a deep legacy in our community locally and statewide,” says Rau. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to forge and lead a shared vision for the future.”

Cedar patrons will get their first introduction to Rau during The Cedar’s free, all ages, annual Global Roots Festival, where she will be speaking each night. This years’ festival takes place September 19th-21st and features Fémina (Argentina), Maya Kamata (Réunion/France), J.A.S.S. Quartet (India/LA), Lautari (Poland), SK Kakraba (Ghana/LA), and Palenke Soultribe (Colombia/LA), as well as daytime activities for youth, and a pre-performance plaza party hosted by Minnesota United. Get more information on the Festival and reserve tickets at

The Cedar’s mission is to promote intercultural appreciation and understanding through the presentation of global music and dance. The Cedar is committed to artistic excellence and integrity, diversity of programming, support for emerging artists, and community outreach.