GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Charles Burke, the president and CEO of The War Memorial, an event space in southeast Michigan with a focus on arts, culture, film and patriotism, has been named the next leader of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.
“I am honored to be selected as the next President & CEO of such a world-renowned and beloved cultural institution,” Burke said in a statement. “I am eager to work with the talented team at Meijer Gardens, as together we continue to provide world-class experiences and advance the mission of the organization.”
Burke has led The War Memorial, located in Grosse Pointe Farms, for the past nine years. He starts his new job Feb. 13.
He replaces David Hooker, who announced his retirement last year. Hooker, who has served as president and CEO of the gardens and sculpture park since 2006, is transitioning into a new role supporting the Meijer families “interests and activities.”
“We are grateful for David Hooker’s nearly 17 years of service to Meijer Gardens and look forward to the next chapter of leadership for this wonderful organization,” said Candace Matthews, a member of Meijer Gardens’ board. “Charles Burke’s history of leading cultural organizations is ideally suited to continue to build upon Meijer Gardens’ growth and success.”
The War Memorial, located on Lake Saint Claire, is an event space at the historic Alger Estate. It functions as a venue that can be rented for weddings, corporate gatherings, community events and programming for veterans. It hosts over 3,000 events annually, and also has a focus on film, according to a news release.
Prior to working at The War Memorial, Burke served as an executive and orchestral conductor for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He was responsible for the development of the orchestra’s Pincus Education Center in Midtown Detroit as well as the African American Fellowship program, which was designed to improve diversity in classical music.
“I am exceedingly pleased to announce that Charles Burke has accepted the role of our next President & CEO,” Mark Mossing, the board chair of Meijer Gardens, said in a statement. “His passion for the arts, business acumen, and proven track record of success make him the perfect fit for this role.”
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