Michael Pauken, sitting in the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, will take on the role of interim executive director for the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center in mid-December.

The general manager of a performing arts center in Skokie, Illinois, has been named interim executive director of the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center at City Springs.

Michael Pauken, who has served as general manager/executive director of the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts since 2002, will join the Sandy Springs team in mid-December, according to a press release.

Pauken said the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center is a phenomenal facility.

“When the city of Sandy Springs built it, they knocked it out of the park. I mean, they did everything right as far as I can tell,” he told the Sandy Springs Reporter.

Byers Theatre has more seats than the main hall in Skokie, he said. That opens up more opportunities in programming where a certain number of seats are needed to compete.

“I’ve been in the job and leading for 20 years and I’ve just reached the point where I’ve done everything I can do here. But there are a lot of similarities to the market in Sandy Springs and in the north shore of Chicago,” Pauken said.

He said family considerations, including aging parents, wouldn’t allow him to commit to a permanent position in Sandy Springs.

The biggest thing he plans to do in Sandy Springs is get more shows in the center. Sandy Springs, just like Skokie, is just north of a major metro city and in a very competitive market. With its proximity to the I-285 he said there is no reason why significant shows can’t play there.

Pauken brought programming in-house and presented more than 475 international touring and Chicago-based artists including Al Jarreau, Art Garfunkel, Boz Scaggs, Clint Black, Ed Asner, Graham Nash, Herb Alpert & Lani Hall, and Indigo Girls.

“We are eager to welcome Michael Pauken to the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center at City Springs,” said Sandy Springs City Manager Eden Freeman. “The combination of his talent, experience, and contacts will enhance our programming and serve our community well.”

In 2015, Pauken led efforts to revitalize the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts Foundation, a separate legal entity charged with supporting Center programs and projects. More than $1 million has been raised to support the center through annual fundraising events, private foundation grants, and sponsorships.

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.