Profile: David Kuehn Executive Director of Cotuit Center for the Arts

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living on Cape Cod, it’s that no two “wash-a-shore” stories on the same. Everyone has a story of how they came to live on the Cape. Maybe they fell in love with the beaches or fell in love with a Cape Codder.

David Kuehn’s story begins in Los Angeles in 1980. He was attending UCLA and working at Tower Records along with the likes of Axl Rose. His love for classical music and his eagerness to learn earned him a job at a record label. “I just put myself around people who knew the record business and was willing to work hard. My first job was going around record stores and putting up posters,” says Kuehn.

13 years later he was heading up the classical division for RCA records.

His husband, who he met while performing at the 1984 Olympic opening ceremony, was busy working as a costume designer and stylist for film and television. A move to the East Coast seemed to be on the cards. Mutual friends had moved to the Cape to raise a family and after visiting, Kuehn decided it might be right for them.

With record sales declining, the record industry made changes and budget cuts were made in the classical division. David says he did what anyone on Cape Cod when they aren’t sure what to do next, he got his real estate license. He also spent 10 years doing consulting work and helping symphony orchestras in San Francisco and Chicago self produce their own albums. Then a friend told him he might want to meet the board of the Cotuit Center for the Arts.

“There was a time when I never would have gone to community theater,” says Kuehn, “But I met with them a few times and realized we were on the same wave length. We had a similar vision.”

Kuehn says now he understands the importance of arts in the community. “For some people it’s their church. We have a lot of retirees, a lot of widows and widowers who find something to connect with here.’ And the younger crowd are welcomed into the Cotuit Center for the Arts, “The truth is we’re saving lives,” says Kuehn, “Some of these kids, they aren’t athletes and here they find a community who accepts them and celebrates what they do. It’s so important that they have this opportunity and this platform.”

Over the course of his time at Cotuit Center for the Arts, Kuehn has brought in some high profile names to perform. This summer ‘s special events feature Chita Rivera, Megan Hilty, and Sutton Foster. But it’s the outreach programs that really excited Kuehn. CapeCodCAN provides arts services for people with disabilities on Cape Cod serving more than 500 people each year. Cotuit Center for the Arts also receives a grant to bring arts to a local juvenile detention center.

To get involved with the Cotuit Center for the Arts visit their website.

By Rebecca Romo, Lifestyle Reporter

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