The most interesting part of this announcement is that Keblas does not have the background one might expect for an incoming agency president.
He spent the last nine years as director of the city’s official Office of Film + Music and, before that, he worked at the nonprofit arts center The Vera Project. Keblas has spent a majority of his career to date preserving and promoting the arts in Seattle.
So why did Creature go with Keblas?
As CEO Matt Peterson put it:
“Our business is to solve problems with creativity. James is a known quantity in thinking big and acting strategically…”
He was also very popular as a city official–so much so that the first page of Google results under his name includes a Change.org petition to reappoint him after he was “unexpectedly dismissed” by new Mayor Ed Murray and a recap of his departure “roast”, at which one Sir-Mix-a-Lot sang his praises.
In truth, his hiring stems directly from the success of the “Commercialize Seattle” campaign, which mocked industry tropes while encouraging agencies and studios to help promote Frasier’s favorite city.
Keblas will report directly to Peterson.