Abby Schoenborn

Executive Assistant

Abby provides administrative support to the Institute’s Chairman and senior consultants as well as assisting with the delivery of the Institute’s Capacity Building Programs. Prior to joining the staff at the Institute, she has worked for a variety of arts organizations as both an arts educator and as an administrator. Hailing from the upper Midwest, Abby received a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of North Dakota.

ajschoenborn (at)

Abby Sharp

Executive Assistant

Abby Sharp provides administrative support to the Institute’s President and senior consultants. With a background in art history, museums, and marketing and graphic design, Abby's diverse experience allows her to provide support for various projects at the Institute. She comes to the Institute most recently from the Special Events department at the Blanton Museum of Art.

Abby published her Undergraduate Honors Thesis at the University of Texas at Austin, in which she examined the legal, ethical, and social context and implications of deaccession in museums. She graduated with a B.A. in Art History with Special Honors, and a Certificate in Museum Studies.


Tanya Surtees

Director, Capacity Building Programs

Tanya Surtees first came to America in 2008 as one of two South Africans to be awarded a three-year International Summer Arts Management Fellowship under Michael Kaiser’s leadership at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. After handing over the executive leadership of FTH:K, her theatre company co-founded in South Africa, she moved to the U.S. permanently in 2011 to produce QuestFest, a two-week, international festival of visual performance. In 2014, the Institute approached her to assist in producing the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, and on closing that project, invited her to stay on to coordinate its international and domestic capacity building programs. It wasn’t long before she had advanced into her current role as Director of Capacity Building Programs, overseeing all training programs run by the Institute, as well as the team that manages them. The largest of which is the Arts Innovation and Management (AIM) program that to date has engaged almost 500 cultural organizations across the US since 2015.

With two post-graduate degrees in Arts and Education from Rhodes University, South Africa, she has a background in arts management, event planning, production, and arts education. She has also worked extensively within the field of arts and disability, with a specific focus on integrating Deaf and hearing communities. She has served on the boards of multiple cultural non-profits in South Africa, and has co-authored learner books for Maskew Miller Longman, and Oxford and Cambridge University Presses. She is fluent in English, French, and South African Sign Language.

tgsurtees (at)

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