Criterion hires executive director


Eli Mellen

BAR HARBOR — The historic Criterion Theatre will have a new face at its helm when it reopens for business this spring.

The board of directors of the circa-1932 Art Deco theater announced Tuesday the hiring of Mount Desert Island resident Eli Mellen as executive director.

Mellen holds a master’s degree in philosophy from College of the Atlantic. His previous experience includes working as the office and database manager for the Abbe Museum, helping to manage a large summer camp in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and running a design, branding and web consultancy firm focused on supporting nonprofit organizations.

“We are really excited about having Eli at the helm,” Criterion board president Michael Boland said in a press release. “Eli’s experience working with nonprofits on Mount Desert Island and his passion for arts and the community make him a great fit to lead the Criterion into the future.”

The Criterion is operated by the Bar Harbor Jazz Festival and is a nonprofit cinema, theater, multimedia art producer and venue committed to safeguarding this historic space for stories, storytellers and audiences. Theater directors strive to support accessibility for visiting and local audiences, while maintaining the space’s historical integrity, the press release states.

The Criterion intends to open this spring with mainstream contemporary films while also showcasing and supporting the work of local artists, filmmakers and storytellers.

The Criterion is currently in the midst of major renovations, with a goal of restoring the theatre to its historical glory. Projects include installing a digital projector, rebuilding the stage, adding handicap-accessible restrooms and restoring the theatre’s 800 seats. The Criterion is in the midst of seeking funding to support these projects.

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Robert Levin

Robert Levin

Former reporter Robert Levin covered the people, businesses, governmental and nonprofit agencies of Bar Harbor. [email protected]
Robert Levin

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