Kathleen van Bergen, Leading Lady

Kathleen van Bergen, CEO and President of Artis—Naples, and Leading Lady.
Photography by Vanessa Rogers; Shot on location at Burn by Rocky Patel, Mercato, Naples

Kathleen van Bergen

CEO and President, Artis—Naples

New Jersey native Kathleen van Bergen has held positions in large markets including Chicago, Philadelphia, and St. Louis, and experienced concerts in more than 100 halls in two-dozen-plus countries. Yet the statuesque arts executive is as happy and at home in Naples as she has been in larger cities. She likes that the people come from many different places and backgrounds, which makes for creating a “best-of” kind of community. While she heads out of town on occasion for a bit of big city energy, van Bergen also enjoys cooking meals in her own kitchen, sharing food and laughs, occasionally playing her violin, with friends. As deeply dedicated as she is to her post at Artis—Naples, though, free time is scarce. Her dedication is paying off. In less than five years, van Bergen has led Naples’ premier cultural center to a new level. She recently announced a campaign to raise $50 million, beginning with a $15 million gift from board members Kimberly K. Querrey and her husband, Louis A. Simpson, to sustain Artis—Naples and its initiatives for generations to come.

“Words to live by: ‘You perform the way you practice!’ A great lesson from my violin days. It’s not only appropriate to anyone who performs, it is applicable to life.”

Signature style: Black pants and a bold jacket. I wear a lot of black, but I also like a good solid color instead of a pattern. The last thing you want on someone 6 feet tall is a really large pattern.

Contemporary artist I’d like to bring to Artis—Naples: Many people would love to see Adele, and I would love to see that songbird on our stage, but she’s obviously performing in much larger venues. The intimacy of our space is not ready for that yet. I would love to see Idina Menzel here—she is a real star. One thing I love about artists of her ilk is when you can combine them with the sound of the Naples Philharmonic, there is something so special about that.

Recent reads: I’ve been enjoying the Piggy and Gerald series by Mo Willems, notably, I’m a Frog! (Disney-Hyperion, 2013). Although I read a great deal, there is nothing better than reading a book with my toddler nephew, Aiden—especially for the fourteenth time!

Bucket-list topper: Going down under for a concert at the Sydney Opera House.

Styling and wardrobe by Rachel Galante and Colette Wetzel, Saks Fifth Avenue

Hair and makeup by Philip Douglas

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