DeVos Institute Fellows, 2017

The DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland welcomes a new class of six arts managers to its Fellowship program. These six Fellows will join 13 managers returning for their second year in the program. To date, the Institute's highly competitive Fellowship program has served more than 250 arts managers from 55 countries.

Iiris Autio

Helsinki, Finland

Class of 2018

Managing Director, Tero Saarinen Company

Managing Director Iiris Autio has led Tero Saarinen Company, one of Northern Europe’s most prominent dance groups, as Managing Director since 2001. Exemplary shared leadership between Ms. Autio and choreographer Saarinen has been one of the key factors in the Company’s international success. Today, TSC is one of Finland’s leading cultural exports.

After receiving her master’s degree in political science from the University of Helsinki in 1992, Ms. Autio specialized in marketing, production, and management of contemporary dance. In 2000-2001, she coordinated a large-scale Finnish contemporary dance season in London and completed a Master’s degree in Arts Management at London City University.

Alongside her work, Ms. Autio has served as a specialist member on a number of creative economy and cultural export working groups for Finnish government ministries. She is currently on the Boards of the internationally renowned Savonlinna Opera Festival and Helsinki Dance House – a new organization and dance venue due to open in Helsinki in 2020. In 2016, she was nominated to a government-working group preparing a proposal for the Finnish Parliament on the reform of the funding system for museums, theatres (including dance and circus) and orchestras. She also lectures regularly.


Karim Baer

San Francisco, California, United States

Class of 2018

Executive Director, Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Karim Baer serves as the Executive Director of Alonzo King LINES Ballet in San Francisco, California. Alonzo King LINES Ballet consists of an internationally touring dance company that performs the works of acclaimed choreographer Alonzo King; education programs including a summer program for youth, a training program for pre-professional dancers, a BFA program in collaboration with Dominican University of California; and a San Francisco-based dance center.

Previously, Mr. Baer served as the Director of Public Programs and Performances for the California Institute of Integral Studies, where he presented artists and public intellectuals from a variety of disciplines.

Mr. Baer has also held positions in the mental health and holistic health fields. He grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, and has made the San Francisco Bay Area home for the last 15 years. His time living in the South and the Bay Area has given him a sense for the importance of using the arts as a tool to bring communities together. 


Ekundayo Bandele

Memphis, Tennessee, United States

Class of 2019

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Hattiloo Theatre

Ekundayo Bandele is from the Fort Greene neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. He attended both Tennessee State University and Morehouse College, but left before obtaining a degree to pursue his passion as an entrepreneur. In 2006, he founded Hattiloo Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee. 

As the theatre's artistic leader, he has directed several plays that include August Wilson's "Fences”, and he worked as assistant director to Ruben Santiago-Hudson on “Paradise Blue” that starred TV & film star Blair Underwood. As Hattiloo’s administrative leader, he spearheaded a $4.3M capital campaign that resulted in the construction of Hattiloo’s venue in Memphis, Tennessee’s popular Overton Square, and a second capital campaign that raised $900,000 for the construction of the Hattiloo Development Center. 

Ekundayo gives back to the community by serving as chairman of Mayor Strickland’s Youth Guidance Commission. He is chairman of the Memphis Branding Initiative, and serves as a member on the boards of the Overton Park Conservancy and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.


Alison Clark

Manchester, United Kingdom

Class of 2018

National Director, Combined Arts; Arts Council England and Skills, Education and Training Lead; Factory Manchester

Alison Clark is the national Director for Combined Arts (covering festivals, outdoor arts and events and cross-artform venues) for Arts Council England, England’s national development and funding agency for arts and culture. She leads, and is the architect of, the £35.2 million Ambition for Excellence funding program. Between June 2017 and June 2018 she will also be the skills, education and training lead for Factory Manchester, the major new cross-artform venue in Manchester due to open in 2019.  She has a particular interest and expertise in collaborative business models and has been a regular contributor to arts and culture publications, including Guardian Culture Professionals.

She has previously held senior roles in festival development and in arts policy-making for local government, and was a director for the arts education program Creative Partnerships. She began her arts career in cross-artform venue and festival marketing.


Sigal Cohen

Tel Aviv, Israel

Class of 2018

Director of International Relations and Development, Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv

Sigal Cohen is the Director of International Relations and Development at the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv. She is an Israeli art and culture curator and producer who specializes in the management of national and international public cultural events and institutions. Previously, she served as an Arts Officer at the British Council office in Tel Aviv and as Producer of the first Bat-Yam Biannual for Landscape Urbanism. She also founded and directed the International Department of Bat-Yam Municipality and founded the Cultural Green House “Art Factory” in Bat-Yam. In addition, Ms. Cohen directed the Israeli Actors Guild (SHACHAM) and Hazira- Interdisciplinary Arts Arena, Jerusalem.

Currently, Ms. Cohen is producing the International Exposure of Israeli Drama, the ISRADRAMA International Events, and The Israeli Pavilion at the Prague Quadranela, on behalf of the Hanoch Levin Institute of Israeli Drama. Ms. Cohen also represents Barak Marshall, the acclaimed Israeli-American choreographer, whose work is produced internationally. 


DeAnna Cummings

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Class of 2018

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Juxtaposition Arts


DeAnna Dodds Cummings is the CEO and Co-Founder of Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA), a cultural development center and teen-staffed design firm in North Minneapolis. Ms. Cummings creates authentic opportunities for people to exercise leadership and pursue self-sufficiency through hands-on engagement in the arts. Under Cummings’ leadership, JXTA has shifted from an afterschool enrichment model to a social enterprise model that trains and employs youth as a springboard to higher education and careers in art and design.

She has presented about equity in the arts, locally rooted creative place-making, leadership, social entrepreneurship, and asset-based youth development at universities and museums across the country. Ms. Cummings is a 2016 Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Women in Business Awardee. Minnesota Public Radio named Cummings a 2013 Arts Hero. She is a 2007 Archibald Bush Leadership Fellow and was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Archibald Bush Foundation in 2014. Ms. Cummings recently presented at the United Nations to millennial philanthropists interested in impact investing.

Ms. Cummings holds a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University.


Elaine Delgado

New York, New York, United States

Class of 2018

Director of Development, The Hispanic Society of America


Elaine Delgado became the first Director of Development at The Hispanic Society of America in New York City in 2015. She has a central role in strategic planning and development at the Hispanic Society, as the institution builds upon the strength of its collections and undergoes capital improvements that will foster a new era of increased programming and engagement with its constituency.

Ms. Delgado’s previous work experience includes positions as Director of Marketing and Individual Giving at Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education (Bronx, New York), Director of the Visual Arts Program at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (San Juan, Puerto Rico), and Capital Campaign Manager at the Museo de Arte de Ponce (Ponce/Guaynabo, Puerto Rico).

From 2008 to 2010, she helped raise $6.6 million dollars for the Museo de Arte de Ponce’s first capital campaign. During her tenure at Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education, Ms. Delgado helped increase fundraising at an average annual rate of 13 percent (from $1.9 million in 2012 to more than $3 million in 2015). She holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of Puerto Rico and a master’s degree in Puerto Rican Studies from the Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe.


Benjamin Dietschi

Toronto, Canada

Class of 2019

Executive Director, Soundstreams

Ben Dietschi is currently Executive Director of Soundstreams where, with Artistic Director Lawrence Cherney C.M., he provides leadership for one of Canada’s leading contemporary music companies. Partnership building, community outreach, business development, and passionate entrepreneurialism are traits that define Ben’s approach to leadership, along with a deep-rooted belief in the arts as an agent of positive change.

Active in the arts community, he serves as treasurer on the board of Theatre Passe Muraille, and participates as a guest speaker at conferences and post-secondary programs. Ben also founded Spectrum Music in 2010, a chamber jazz presenter focused on thematic and intersectional programming. His experience also rests on formative years as a jazz saxophonist and composer, performing across Canada and the U.S. and releasing four recordings, with the international jazz collective Tunnel Six.


Tanya Hilton

Washington, D.C., United States

Class of 2019

Executive Director, CulturalDC

Tanya Hilton was announced as the permanent executive director of CulturalDC in April 2017. In the 18 months she served as interim executive director, Hilton increased corporate giving, created new artist opportunities, and orchestrated the company’s first ever daylong arts and urban innovation summit, bringing together artists, developers, and thought-leaders from across the country for VISIONDC. 

With over 25 years of experience in technology and organization development, Hilton has directed senior executives in public and private sectors. After Hilton started her career with IBM, she translated her technology experience into large-scale organization transformations through an IBM-sponsored MBA program at Harvard University. She led consulting practices in the non-profit, private, and public sectors for PricewaterhouseCoopers and Booz Allen Hamilton. 

Her innovative work with non-profit organizations continued through her consulting group, Hilton Advisors LLC and with her leadership with Educational Foundation for the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Beyond her career in technology and organization development, Hilton was also a performing artist in the U.S. and Europe.


Rick Heath

Perth, Australia

Class of 2019

Executive Director, Australian Performing Arts Centres Association

Rick has worked in the performing arts industry across Australia for over 25 years. He is the Executive Director of the Australian Performing Arts Centres Association (APACA) and Director of Push Management Pty Ltd, a strategy, planning, and project management consultancy for the arts industry. Rick graduated from the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts in Stage Management and holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing). He has worked extensively in the performing arts industry as producer, presenter, tour manager, consultant, and advocate. 

Rick was Chair of Steps Youth Dance Company for eight years, a committee member and President of Ausdance WA, and was past Chair of the Helpmann Awards Nominating Panel for Dance and Physical Theatre. He is currently Chair of the Presentation for Children Panel, a member of the Panel for Regional Touring, and a board member of The Last Great Hunt. 

Rick was Project Facilitator for the Contemporary Dance Model Development project (Future Moves), a $1.6M government initiative for the development of Contemporary Dance in Western Australia and recently completed a 5-year touring strategy for the state of Western Australia.


Suha Khuffash

Ramallah, Palestine

Class of 2018

Arts Programme Manager, British Council Palestine

Suha Khuffash is the Arts Programme Manager for the British Council in Palestine. She joined the British Council in Ramallah in 2000 and has managed the British Council Arts Programme for Palestine since 2008. Ms. Khuffash manages a portfolio of local and regional arts projects within the British Council’s context of enhancing intercultural understanding and positive social change. Her projects include art and culture, disability arts, education, and society.

Ms. Khuffash has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from An-Najah University, Palestine and a master’s degree in international studies from Birzeit University, Palestine.


Bryan Joseph Lee

Bethesda, MD, United States

Class of 2018

Director of Marketing and Communications, Round House Theatre


Bryan Joseph Lee is the Director of Marketing & Communications at Round House Theatre, an actor-focused theatre company in Bethesda, Maryland. At Round House, Mr. Lee oversees earned revenue and institutional marketing, and he has a specific interest in cultivating diverse audiences through authentic and targeted relationship building. Mr. Lee has guided numerous audience engagement initiatives locally and internationally, including a recent project in Alexandria, Egypt. 

In 2016, Mr. Lee was named a Rising Leader of Color by Theatre Communications Group (TCG). He has presented topics for Americans for the Arts and the League of Resident Theaters (LORT), and currently serves on the Board of Governors for theatreWashington, a service organization dedicated to representing the theatre community in the nation’s capital. 

Previously, Mr. Lee worked with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and SOURCE Festival in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds a degree in Latin American Studies and Theatre.


Peter McDowell

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Class of 2018

Founder, Peter McDowell Arts Consulting

Peter McDowell is the Founder of Peter McDowell Arts Consulting, a company that provides the performance field with high-level public relations, website development, and career coaching. From 2015 to 2017, Mr. McDowell was the Managing Director of Chicago-based, four-time Grammy-award winning ensemble Eighth Blackbird, which was named Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year for 2017 and was awarded Chamber Music America’s inaugural Visionary Award. 

Mr. McDowell has built a distinguished career on strategic, creative, and effective service to performing artists and arts organizations. He has held leadership positions at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, New York’s Opera America, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. 

He holds degrees from the University of Illinois and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He serves on the board of the Beverly Blossom Foundation and is a documentary filmmaker.


Stosh Mintek

Los Angeles, California, United States

Class of 2018

Executive Director, Ghetto Film School


Stosh Mintek is the Executive Director of Ghetto Film School in Los Angeles.  A 2003 graduate of Yale University with a double-major in English and Film Studies, Mr. Mintek has worked with Ghetto Film School (GFS) since 2004. As Program Director (2004-2008), he produced GFS international film shoots in France, Uganda, and Brazil, as well as hundreds of short films in New York City. As Director of Development and Special Projects (2008-2012), Mr. Mintek supervised the implementation of $2.5 million in capital funding to build the South Bronx Post House and launched GFS Master Class, which delivers GFS’ award-winning arts education model on a global scale. 

In 2012, Mr. Mintek became the Executive Producer of Digital Bodega, Ghetto Film School’s in-house transmedia production company. Digital Bodega is staffed by top alumni from GFS and operates out of the South Bronx Post House, creating bespoke media solutions (including commercials, ethnography portraits, and trends reports) for such corporate clients as Sony, Nike, Atlantic Records, and JP Morgan. In 2014, Mr. Mintek relocated to Los Angeles to become the Executive Director of GFS LA, the West Coast division of GFS. 
As an independent filmmaker, Mr. Mintek has written, shot, directed, edited, and produced numerous short films, music videos, animations, and documentaries that have screened in national and international film festivals, including “The Town Chernobyl Built” (2010), “Elementary Cool” (2010), “The Line” (2011), “End of the Season” (2012), “Holding Up” (2014), and "A Little Bit Pregnant (2017)."


Debbie Ng

San Francisco, California, United States

Class of 2018

Development and Communications Director, Center for Asian American Media

Debbie Ng is the Development and Communications Director at the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) in San Francisco, the nation’s largest Asian American media arts organization. Ms. Ng leads a development team effort to raise corporate, foundation, individual, and public support for a $3.5 million budget. She spearheads high-profile fundraising activities, including CAAMFest, the world’s largest Asian American film, music, and food festival that attracts 27,000 audience members, and CAAMFeast Awards: Stories, Food and You, honoring Asian American culinary achievement. She also leads CAAM’s institutional marketing, brand and communications strategy, strategic planning processes, and supports CAAM’s national award-winning public television productions and broadcasts.
Prior to CAAM, Ms. Ng worked for the Center for Social Sector Leadership at the Haas School of Business (University of California, Berkeley) overseeing its rebrand and model experiential learning program that prepares MBA students for nonprofit board leadership. In 2006, Ms. Ng co-produced the award-winning film Kieu, a modern-day telling of the 19th century Vietnamese poem, The Tale of Kieu. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Arts degree in feminist studies. 


Martin Pošta

Prague, Czech Republic

Class of 2019

President, International Light Festival Organisation and Chief Executive Officer, SIGNAL Festival

Martin Pošta is the president of the International Light Festivals Organisation and founder and CEO of numerous significant culture events. He studied at the University of Economics and the Film Academy of Performing Arts, both in Prague. In 2013, Mr. Pošta founded the SIGNAL Festival, the largest cultural event in the Czech Republic. Since its founding, the Festival’s unique integration of art, urban space, and modern technology has attracted more than 1.5 million viewers to the stage of Prague’s downtown. Mr. Pošta worked many years at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, where he founded the festival of film debuts – Fresh Film Fest. Martin also founded the International Festival of Contemporary Design designSUPERMARKET.

Martin is also producer of the video mapping group The Macula, which is famous for its video mapping of the Old Town Hall’s astronomic clock in Prague. In addition to Prague, Martin has also completed video mapping projects in Dubai, Liverpool, and Bucharest. 

Currently, Martin is preparing for his fifth year of the SIGNAL Festival, for which he is also co-producing the animated feature film Even Mice Belong in Heaven.


Steinunn Birna Ragnarsdóttir

Reykjavík, Iceland

Class of 2018

Chief Executive Officer and Artistic Director, Icelandic Opera

Steinunn Birna Ragnarsdóttir has been the CEO and Artistic Director of the Icelandic Opera in Reykjavík for the past two years after being the Artistic Director of Harpa Concert Hall in Iceland from 2010 a year before it opened in May 2011. 

Ms. Ragnarsdóttir was born in Reykjavík and studied piano from an early age. She earned her Master’s degree in Piano performance from New England Conservatory in 1987 where she was a student of Mr. Leonard Shure. She has performed frequently in many international festivals and appeared in concerts in Europe and the United States, earning various awards for her performances. A dedicated performer of solo and chamber music, she has also recorded some albums as a soloist with the Iceland Symphony. Her recordings as a pianist include an album that earned her the 1998 Icelandic Music Award for the year’s best classical CD.

Ms. Ragnarsdóttir is the founder of the Reykholt Music Festival and was its Artistic Director until she took on the position Harpa. She was a member of the City Council of Reykjavík from 2002 to 2004 and the Vice President of the Cultural committee of Reykjavík. She currently sits on the Boards of the International Society for the Performing Arts and the Icelandic Performing Arts Association and is currently the Director of the Board of SAVIST (Performing Arts Institutions in Iceland). She has worked as an international consultant and appears frequently as a lecturer and panelist at various international conferences.


Alma Salem

Montreal, Canada

Class of 2019

Independent Curator and Cultural Advisor, Syria Third Space

Alma Salem is an independent curator and cultural advisor with 22 years of knowledge and expertise in producing hundreds of cultural projects across all arts forms. Her work has spanned international cultural relations, heritage protection, the visual and performing arts, cultural entrepreneurship, and arts in development and conflict. Born in Damascus, she resides in Montreal, Canada, where she continues her work with artists around the globe.

She is a recognized cultural militant who has worked with the British Council between 2006 and 2015 in varied positions marked by five years of leading the Middle East and North Africa regional arts programmes, overseeing over 800 projects across 17 Arab countries, the UK and Europe. From 1995 to 2006, she worked at the Near East French Institute as its cultural resources manager. During this time, she published the book Photographies du Levant showcasing a ten-year project preserving the visual heritage of the Levant in partnership with the EU, the French National Center for Scientific Research, and many Levant-based museums. 

Alma Salem is the founder and senior curator of the touring contemporary arts platform Syria Third Space.


Bradley Wade Renner

Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Class of 2018

General Manager, Atlanta Ballet


Bradley Renner is the General Manager of Atlanta Ballet, where he manages the financial and administrative business for the production department. He assumed this role in April 2014 after holding the position of Company Manager for three years. Mr. Renner is active in the theater community in Atlanta and sits on the committee for the Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards for the Arts Bridge Foundation at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

Previously, he was a professional actor and performed with the Alliance Theater, Atlanta Lyric Theatre, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, and Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre. Mr. Renner received his master’s degree in arts administration from Shenandoah University and received a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts with a minor in Dance from Point Park University.

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