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APAP launches Sustainability Planning Process to shape our future

The performing arts are at a critical point in the life of our sector and APAP’s placement within and service to the field is essential, so it is important at this moment to consider APAP’s identity and capacity. APAP also wants to ensure its sustainability moving forward and right-size itself doing what we can and should be doing given available resources.

About The Sustainability Planning Process:

To make this a reality, APAP is working alongside ADC Consulting to create a Sustainability Plan that syncs a set of strategic priorities with a series of action steps that are expansive and future-forward. 

The Plan aims We aim to respond to the needs of a changing presenting, booking and touring industry and to global shifts by reimagining an organizational structure that will best support performing arts professionals in our collective vision for a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable field.

The Plan will be developed through a series of five phases from October 2023- August 2024. 
Get Involved: 

APAP exists to serve a flourishing national and international performing arts community of agents, presenters, artists, and performing arts professionals. Your ideas, needs, and feedback are critical to the success of the Sustainability Plan. We have designed a series of engagement opportunities so you can also be a part of this sustainability planning process.

Current Opportunities:

  • Take the APAP Community Survey between February 13 and March 8, 2024: Whether you are a current member, a lapsed member or have never been a member of APAP, help us understand how to better serve you, your needs and your vision for the future of the field and APAP's role within it. The survey is anonymous.  As an incentive, when you submit your survey, you will have the opportunity to be entered in a drawing for a registration to the APAP|NYC 2025 conference. Take the survey here.

Past Opportunities:

  • Visit the APAP Booth at APAP|NYC 2024: From January 13-15, 2024, connect with the ADC Consulting Team in person at the APAP annual conference. Visit Booth #128 on the Rhinelander level of the Expo Commons to give your feedback. You can share your stories orally, participate in our post-it-wall, or drop off suggestion cards.
  • Participate in a Focus Group in March 2024: Both APAP members and non-members also have the opportunity to participate in focus groups where you can share more in-depth feedback. These groups will meet online via Zoom with our consultants to provide insights on needs, experiences and desires for the future. Focus group participants will be selected to ensure representation of the greatest cross-section of APAP membership and the field. Participation is voluntary and may not include everyone who indicates interest. All information will be kept confidential. The deadline to participate in a Focus Group was February 20, 2024.
About The Sustainability Planning Team:

To ensure APAP remains accountable with the community of artists, agents and presenters that we serve, APAP has established a Sustainability Planning Committee (SPC) to steward and inform the entire process. The committee is composed of the APAP board, staff, and our members! It includes:

Aisha Ahmad-Post

Executive Director, Newman Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Denver
Aisha is smiling with medium length curly brown hair and olive skin. She is wearing a black shirt and is front of a blurred brick wall; photo by Stellar Propellar Studio.
Aisha Ahmad-Post is the Executive Director of the Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Denver, where she has raised the organization’s profile as a committed community partner and thought leader in interdisciplinary and international programming. Prior to joining the Newman Center, Ahmad-Post was the inaugural Director of the Ent Center for the Arts at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Previously, she was the Producer of Public Programs for The New York Public Library and has also held positions in artist management at CAMI and Barrett Vantage. She earned her Bachelors and Masters of Music at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and is an alumna of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) Leadership Fellows program. She was appointed to the Denver Commission for Cultural Affairs by Mayor Michael Hancock in 2021 and elected to the APAP Board of Directors in 2023.

Alicia Adams

VP International Programming and Dance, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Brown skin, short dark hair and eyes, dangling earrings and light green jacket; photo by Margo Schulman.
For over two decades, Alicia Adams has been presenting work from national and international arenas at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. As Vice President of International Programming and Dance, she produces the distinguished international theater series World Stages each year. Since 1997, Alicia has curated and produced major international festivals including most recently Artes de Cuba, an unprecedented festival in 2018 that brought together 400 Cuban and Cuban American artists. She also curates the Center’s Contemporary Dance programming and annual Lunar New Year Celebration.

Active in the performing arts community, Alicia has served on numerous boards and planning committees including the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts, the Caine Prize for African Writing (UK), Africa 95 (UK), the All Roads Project of National Geographic, Chair of the International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA), Executive Committee of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), the National Dance Panel of the New England Foundation on the Arts, the Advisory Council for Georgetown University's Laboratory for Global Performance and Circle World Arts. In 2011 she received the APAP Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award for exemplary service to the field of presenting. She is also an elected member of the Cosmos Club. In 2013, Adams was awarded the Insignia of Member First Class of the Royal Order of the Polar Star by the Swedish government. In 2014 Adams was awarded Insignia of Knight, First Class, of the Order of the Lion of Finland by the Finnish government.

Amy Lam

Principal, Lamling Group
Amy is sitting with her hands on her legs. She is smiling with her head tilted to the right. She has medium length black hair with fair skin and is wearing a black jacket; photo by Robert Torres.
Amy Lam is an independent performing arts consultant based in New York and Boston. As the founding
principal of Lamling Group, Ms. Lam provides consulting services and customized strategies for a wide range of cultural and academic institutions as well as individual artists. Lamling Group’s primary functions include
artistic curation, strategic and business planning, producing and project management.

Ms. Lam most recently served as the Vice President and Executive Director of Tisch Music at the 92nd Street Y, New York. As the chief executive of one of the key program centers at the iconic cultural institution, Ms. Lam reinvigorated the multi-genre center by realigning and expanding its artistic portfolio, broadened the audience reach and stimulated organizational and financial growth during her tenure. 

Before joining 92NY in 2021, Ms. Lam was the Artistic Director of the Celebrity Series of Boston. Under Ms. Lam’s direction of over two decades, the programming palette of the Celebrity Series expanded beyond the
tradition of presenting the world’s finest classical artists to include a variety of disciplines such as new music, modern dance, contemporary folk music, speakers, theater and interdisciplinary productions. 

Ms. Lam currently serves on the board of Association of Performing Arts Professionals. She was a member of the Artistic Committee for Music Accord, and also served on the boards of Dance/USA, Dover Cultural Council (MA), Soldiers Field Park Children’s Center at Harvard Business School, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and Boston Dance Alliance.

Ms. Lam holds an MBA in Arts Administration from Binghamton University of New York, and graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with a BA in Music.

Beth Macmillan

Executive Director, Artown
Headshot of Beth, fair skin tone, short curly auburn hair, a leopard print dress, a gold necklace with theater seating in the background; photo by Peter Walker.
Artown is a 501 c3 non-profit organization. My area of expertise at APAP is threefold: 1. I and the artistic curator and executive director a summer arts festival during which most of the events are free admission. While outdoor presenting has a significant presence at APAP, since Covid there is a great interest from indoor presenters to understand outdoor presenting. 2. I represent the state of Nevada which is underrepresented in the arts. Nevada is known for its gambling and commercial entertainment. I sit at the intersection of these venues and the arts as a non-profit thriving industry. How do fine arts and commercial entertainment meet and both find their space in an organization like APAP? 3.25% of the Presenter members at APAP are “SAMPS”; Small And Midsize Presenters. It is important that this community within APAP has a seat at every table when discussing the evolution, sustainability and growth of the APAP organization.

Christopher Heacox

Executive Director, Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at Auburn University
Chris is leaning against a white pillar wearing round dark glasses and a suit with a striped red and navy tie. He has light skin and short brown hair; photo by Auburn University Photographic Services.
Christopher J. Heacox serves as the inaugural Executive Director of the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at Auburn University (Auburn, AL) where he leads the artistic, administrative, and philanthropic direction of the center. His executive leadership in performing arts presenting spans over eighteen years including Opening Nights Performing Arts at Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL), Friday Musicale (Jacksonville, Florida), the Porter Center for the Performing Arts (North Carolina), and Riverside Fine Arts Association (Jacksonville, Florida).

Chris Lorway

President & CEO, The Banff Centre for Performing Arts and Creativity
Chris standing in front of the Frost Amphitheater at Stanford. He is wearing a green collared shirt and a blue blazer. He has grayish blonde hair and brown eyes; photo courtesy of Stanford.
Chris Lorway is the president and CEO of the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada. He was born on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. He completed his undergraduate degree in music, and received an M.A. in arts administration from Columbia University. Chris has held leadership posts at arts organizations on both sides of the US-Canada border, including the Lincoln Center and Massey Hall, and also consulted globally for major organizations such as Carnegie Hall, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the San Francisco Opera. Prior to his current position, he was executive director of Stanford Live, where he oversaw over 150 performances and events a season and commissioned and developed new works.

Cristina Vazquez

Director, Contenidos Artisticos
Heashot of Cristina, brown skin town, light brown and long hair, red eyes glasses and red Mexican reboso; photo Monica Solis.
Cristina Vázquez has been a Mexican cultural manager for over two decades. She has a master’s degree in Management of Cultural Institutions and Companies from the Barcelona University, where she also obtained a postgraduate diploma in International Cooperation and Cultural Management.

She defines herself as a migrant woman, since almost ten years ago she arrived at Chicago. She had to deal with huge challenges in the United States for her independent artistic projects. Therefore, her main commitment is to give space, voice and work to women that create, manage, and produce in the performing arts field.

As of January 20, 2020, Vázquez is the first Mexican woman to be part of the Board of Directors of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP). Today she is the chairperson of the Communication Task Force of this organism.

She has a permanent presence in performing arts meetings, especially in North America and in other parts of the world. She also has a very active role in her country, where she works with different cultural institutions, both private and public, in the federal, state, and local levels, as well as with multidisciplinary festivals.

Her principal interest is to encourage exchange and collaboration projects, like the one she is planning to work with creation, education, production, and mobility between Mexico and the US.

Due to her passion for literature, Cristina has been involved with the publishing industry, where she complements her career in the performing arts scene.

Delbert Anderson

Artist, Founder, Delbert Anderson Trio
Headshot of Delbert, brown skin tone, with short black hair and glasses, wearing a black suite over a black buttoned shirt, holding a dark brown trumpet with dark blue graffiti art behind him as a background; photo by Maurice Johnson.
Delbert Anderson is a trumpet artist, composer, educator and culture bearer. Anderson creates musical projects inspired by his Diné heritage. Anderson performs his works through the Delbert Anderson Quartet as well as other collaborations with jazz youth ensembles, university ensembles, orchestras and musical theater. Anderson also works in community arts development and Indigenous artist research.

Anderson has been featured in The New York Times, JazzTimes, Grammy.com, NASA, NPR Music Top 10, Smithsonian Magazine, TEDx, PBS and much more.

Lane Harwell

Program Officer for Creativity and Free Expression, The Ford Foundation
White femme person in aviator glasses, a burgundy suit and matching nails; photo by Simon Luethi.
Lane Harwell (they/he) is a nonprofit and philanthropic leader working to advance mission-driven organizations on the frontlines of social change.

Currently Senior Program Officer of Creativity and Free Expression at Ford Foundation, Lane manages a national grants portfolio focused on the intersection of arts and culture, civic engagement, and justice. They are responsible for Disability Futures, a fellowship program to advance disabled artists and journalists; and Reclaiming the Border Narrative, a storytelling and archiving effort to strengthen immigrant rights. Lane also co-manages America’s Cultural Treasures, Ford’s transformational initiative to advance Black, Indigenous, and people of color arts organizations nationally and increase giving by other donors and foundations. This program was launched in 2020 and has raised nearly $300 million in pooled funds.

Prior to Ford, Lane was the Executive Director at the advocacy and service organization Dance/NYC. They founded Dance/NYC as an independent nonprofit in 2012 and grew it from the ground up to serve more than 1,200 dance makers and companies.

Lane’s professional and educational background encompasses creative, business, and civic realms, including an MA in Performance Studies from UC Berkeley, an MBA from Columbia Business School, and an early career as a ballet dancer. They trained at School of American Ballet and San Francisco Ballet and performed with American Ballet Theater Studio Company.

Lane serves on the board of Funders for LGBT Issues. They co-chair New York Grantmakers in the Arts, a peer network of grantmakers. Lane is the past chair of the Steering Committee for the New York Dance and Performance Awards and the Arts Committee of the Municipal Art Society.

Lane identifies as white, queer, disabled, and nonbinary, and is committed to anti-racism and elevating issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Lisa Richards Toney

President & CEO, APAP
Lisa Richards Toney became President and CEO of APAP on July 1, 2020. Ms. Richards Toney brings more than 20 years of experience leading a range of small and large arts and humanities organizations, managing change, and building stability. She most recently served as Executive Director of the Abramson Scholarship Foundation, where she increased funding and steered the foundation through a period of change management in programming, finance, development, and governance. She also improved the scholar experience by curating innovative professional development opportunities in financial literacy, professional visioning, and mental health awareness while utilizing professional networks to build exposure for scholars pursuing careers in the arts. As Deputy Director and later Interim Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, she worked tirelessly on behalf of the diverse resident artists and arts organizations of the District of Columbia. Her additional leadership experience includes Director, Writers and Schools at the Pen/Faulkner Foundation; Director, Literature to Life at The American Place Theatre, where she presented performances at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and The Library of Congress; and the first Executive Director of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy.

In September 2023, Ms. Richards Toney was named among industry luminaries to the first NYC Live Entertainment Industry Council by New York Mayor Eric Adams. She was also named one of "The Next 50" as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She was previously a booking and producing consultant for cellist Okorie “OkCello” Johnson, consultant for the Reel to Reel Filmmaker’s Project for the Prince George’s County Arts Council, and provided tour management and planning support for Moving Forward Dance Company/Dana Tai Soon Burgess. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Drama and English as a Presidential Scholar from Spelman College, a Master of Arts Degree as a John Beinecke Scholar in Arts Education from New York University, and was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to study Black Dance in London, as well as a Vilar Arts Management Fellowship with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Niiyo Narnor-Madison

Director of Operations and Events, APAP

Renae Williams Niles

Principal, Renae WN Consulting
Headshot of Renae - brown skin tone, with dark brown shoulder-length hair and a white shirt; photo by Cathryn Farnsworth.
Renae Williams Niles has served on local and national boards since 1997 including serving on the Dance/USA Board of Trustees and a 13-year tenure on the Western Arts Alliance (WAA) Board of Directors in various officer positions including President. She has been an active member of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) since 1995 and also served on APAP’s Innovation Lab team and membership committee prior to joining the board in 2017. Renae served as APAP board chair, Jan 2021 through Jan 2024.

Renae Williams Niles has worked in the nonprofit sector for 30 years serving in many capacities including executive director of an education foundation, the first chief operating officer/associate dean of administration/diversity liaison for a university dance school, dance company manager, arts grantmaker for Los Angeles County, VP of Programming for The Music Center, chief content and engagement officer for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, adjunct professor for Claremont Graduate University, grant panelist/nominator, consultant, guest curator, and moderator of conversations with renowned artists.

Renae has served as a panelist/advisor for national grantmakers such as the National Endowment for the Arts, United States Artists, three years with the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, and as a nominator for private foundations. She also regularly mentors artists and dance companies. Renae received the 2017 WAA Service to the Field Award and in 2021, she was recognized as an Unsung Hero by the State of California Legislative Black Caucus.

Shanta Thake

Ehrenkranz Chief Artistic Officer, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Shanta is smiling softly. She is fair-skinned, wearing a black shirt, and has mid-should black curls. Photo by Gregory Kramer.
Shanta Thake is the Ehrenkranz Chief Artistic Officer at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where she spearheads all artistic programming activities. Since her start in the fall of 2021, Shanta has been key to Lincoln Center's ongoing efforts to ensure the arts are central to the civic life of the city—welcoming new and returning audiences, championing genres historically underrepresented on campus, and ushering in accessible ticket models to help break down cost barriers.

Known for her work across disciplines, Shanta leads a team of curators to bring exciting emerging and established artists to Lincoln Center’s indoor and outdoor stages, and spearheads multi-genre collaborations with Lincoln Center’s resident organizations.

Prior to Lincoln Center, Shanta was Associate Artistic Director/Director of Artistic Programs at The Public Theater, overseeing the growth and development of Public Works, Mobile Unit, Under the Radar, Joe’s Pub, The Shakespeare Initiative, and Public Forum. Previously, she spent 10 years as the Director of Joe’s Pub, the intimate cabaret venue which hosts over 700 shows annually.

Shanta is also the co-director of GlobalFEST, North America’s world music festival, and in this role received the William Dawson award for Programmatic Excellence. She received a BA in theater and a degree in management from Indiana University, and currently lives in Brooklyn.

Steve Levine

Agent, Creative Artists Agency; ICM Partners
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Our vision is to chart bold, ambitious, and just next steps for the future of APAP! We encourage and welcome all input into the Sustainability Planning Process. Have questions? Contact us at sustainabilityplan@apap365.org.

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