Mark Kent is passionate about the arts.
For the past 25 years, the Florida native has guided nationally recognized arts organizations in West Palm Beach and, more recently, Atlanta. Following a nationwide search last year, he has brought his expertise back to South Florida as executive director of the 170-voice Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida.
“I thought it would be a great way to take what I have been doing and bring it back home,” he recalled.
Kent, who spent his early years in Homestead and later Plant City, completed his education at Florida State University before joining the staff of the newly organized Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, where he helped open the popular venue.
He then moved to Atlanta, where he also held key positions with the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, Children’s Museum of Atlanta and Hands On Atlanta.
One of Kent’s first challenges was to deal with the chorus’ enormous popularity. Most of the ensemble’s regular concerts at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale sold out weeks before the performances, frustrating many music lovers who could not get tickets.
“Isn’t that a great problem to have?” he asked, pointing out that most classical music organizations struggle to draw audiences and sell tickets.
He sought out opportunities to perform in additional venues and established partnerships with other groups, like the very successful series with the Symphony of the Americas at the Broward Center. The chorus also added a performance last year at the 1100 seat Bailey Hall on the campus of Broward College in Davie.
Most recently, he has provided stability to the organization as it conducts a national search for a new artistic director.