Members in the News

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Organization Announcements & Awards 

Green Music Center Opens at Sonoma State University 

The Green Music Center at Sonoma State University celebrated its Grand Opening Weekend September 29 and 30. Pianist Lang Lang headlined the celebration and kicked off a season of 20 concerts that will present a wide range of music, programmed by Artistic Director Jeff Langley and Robert Cole, former director of Cal Performances. The Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall cost $120 million and took 15 years to complete construction.


MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant Awarded to Punch Brothers' Chris Thile 

On October 2, the MacArthur Foundation announced it was awarding a $500,000 no-strings attached Genius Grant to Chris Thile, mandolinist for the Punch Brothers, represented by Paradigm. Chris is among 23 MacArthur Fellows announced for 2012. 

Bessie Lifetime Achievement Award Presented to Paul Taylor 

On October 15, Paul Taylor received a Bessie Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's New York Dance and Performance Awards, Dance/NYC. 

Staff Announcements 

Kevin Boyer Departs from the Washington Center for the Performing Arts 

On August 17, Kevin Boyer announced his departure from the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, effective immediately. He cited differences between himself and the Board of Directors for his decision to leave the organization. Kevin had worked for the Center for 15 years, the last year and a half as Interim Executive Director. 

Ken Foster to Leave Yerba Beuna Center for the Arts in 2013 

On August 17, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts announced that Executive Director Ken Foster would be leaving in May 2013 for an associate professorship at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. He will also be serving as the director of a new graduate program there in arts leadership. Under Ken’s direction, YBCA has been recognized as a nationally and internationally renowned arts center, and as a major San Francisco-area presenter in contemporary visual and performing arts and film. 


Adam Philipson Leaves Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons 

After five years as managing director for Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons, Adam Philipson announced September 18 that he would be stepping down as of October 31. He has taken on the role of CEO at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey, where he will oversee programming, operations, outreach, fundraising and development. Lenore Naxon from Friend Center for the Arts has succeeded Adam as President of California Presenters. 

Dan DeWayne To Retire from CSU, Chico/Chico Performances 

Dan DeWayne announced October 4 that he would be retiring as Director of CSU, Chico/Chico Performances on December 31, 2012, after 15 years with the organization. He will continue to be involved in the arts through his and his wife's work with the California WorldFest. 

Neil Barclay Joins Arts Consulting Group 

On November 10, Arts Consulting Group announced Neil Barclay as the newest member of its Los Angeles team. In the announcement, ACG President Bruce Thibodeau noted Neil’s “national expertise in performing arts organizations and diverse cultural institutions” and his success working with the City of Los Angeles’ Cultural Affairs Department, and as Founding President/CEO of Pittsburgh's August Wilson Center and Associate Director at the University of Texas’ Performing Arts Center. Neil's work at ACG will focus on interim management, institutional capacity building, and strengthening operational efficiency. 

Rocco Landesman to Step Down as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts 

The National Endowment for the Arts announced on November 20 that Chairman Rocco Landesman would step down from his position as of December 31, 2012, having completed one term. Rocco reflected that “we have been able to accomplish more than I had ever thought possible…I am proud and honored to have served alongside such an amazing group of dedicated public servants.” NEA Senior Deputy Chairman Joan Shigekawa will step into the role until a new chairman is appointed by the president. 

Susie Surkamer Named South Arts Executive Director 

Susie Surkamer was announced South Arts’ new Executive Director on November 21. For the last year Susie had been the membership consultant for ArtsReady, a South Arts project. South Arts board chair Margaret Mertz describes Susie as “an entrepreneurial, strategic and innovative thinker;” her professional background includes Executive Director of the South Carolina Arts Commission, and 15 years on the South Arts board (two of those as board chair, from 2002–2004). 

Chrissy Hall Leaves Wells Fargo Center for the Arts 

Entertainment Manager Chrissy Hall of Wells Fargo Center for the Arts accepted a position at the Straz Center in Florida, which she began on November 26. 

In Memory Of… 

Obo Addy, 1936-2012 

Obo Addy, Master Drummer and Founder of Homowo African Arts & Culture, passed away on Thursday, September 13. He was 76. Obo was a WAA member for several years and a prominent member of the Portland community. Condolences and memories may be shared at

John Udry, 1926-2012 

John Udry, longtime WAA member whose work included time at Sheldon Soffer, Herbert Barrett, Gardner Arts Network and UCLA’s Center for the Performing Arts, passed away on Sunday, October 14, at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City. He was 86. Many in the field attended his memorial service on October 19 in New York. Remembrance of John may be shared at