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New Arts Leadership

Two seattle arts institutions announced new leadership recently.

The Central District Forum for Art & Ideas (CD Forum) has hired Sharon N. Williams as its new managing director. She will manage the organization’s day-to-day operations as well as development, grants management and community engagement.

Sharon N. Williams

Williams founded the Mahogany Project, a local theater and film production company, and holds a Masters of Fine Arts as well as a Masters in Business Administration. CD Forum is continuing to search for its artistic director and anticipates filling that position in 2013 as a part of its planned restructuring. The board’s programming committee currently provides artistic direction. Williams will begin working at the CD Forum on January 7 of next year.

CD Forum was founded in 1999 by Stephanie Ellis-Smith as Seattle’s only nonprofit organization focused solely on presenting emerging Black arts, artists, and ideas in the Seattle area.

One of CD Forum’s programs I value is their Say It LOUD! ideas series, which explores complex policies and practices affecting the Black community. Their next Say It LOUD! presentation will be in March at Washington Hall, in partnership with Seattle Urban League Young Professionals, titled Food & Race: The Politics of your Plate.

Over at the Seattle Children’s Theatre (SCT), Mary Ann Ehlshlager was hired in June as its new managing director. SCT is one of the twenty largest regional theatres in the country. Their mission is to present programs that empower young people to make new discoveries about themselves and the world around them while developing a lifelong interest in the arts.  SCT has consistently provided young audiences theatre experiences that are highly entertaining and imaginative. They also have a strong educational program, which includes resources for teachers that detail how a particular play meets specific components of the State’s Essential Academic Learning Requirements.

Mary Ann Ehlshlager

Prior to coming to Seattle, Ehlshlager was executive director of the Delaware Theatre Company. She has worked at the Guthrie Theatre, Arena Stage, and New York’s Roundabout and Pearl Theatre Companies.

Currently, SCT is presenting The Wizard of Oz, aimed at kids age 5 and up. It is a classic tale of adventure, filled with precarious escapes and wicked characters, that inspires imagination and reminds us all how powerful self-confidence can be.

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