Written by Greta Cuyler
The Board of Trustees of American Repertory Ballet has announced that its executive director, Christine Chen, will step down in February to become the Director of Adult Programs at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.
Chen, who began working for ARB in November 2009, led the organization through a financial turnaround to three straight years of surplus budgets, while also expanding the company’s artistic and educational programming. She leaves the organization following a landmark year which saw the premiere of two major works by Artistic Director Douglas Martin as well as a record-breaking 50th Nutcracker season.
"Working with a terrific team of trustees, colleagues, and staff, we have achieved more than I could have imagined four years ago when I began here,” said Chen. “I am proud of the great strides we have made to stabilize our financial position, to build the staff, and, most of all, to expand our artistic repertory and educational programming. ARB is well-positioned for the future and I have enjoyed my time with the organization greatly. Under Douglas Martin’s artistic leadership, the company has really grown in stature and I know, with Mr. Martin’s talent and vision, that this will continue. My ties to ARB and Princeton Ballet School run deep, and I know I will continue to be involved as an advocate and supporter, but I look forward to taking on new challenges in New York City, where I live with my family. I hope to apply the experience I’ve gained at ARB to a broad array of educational programming in my home community.”
“Christine has led ARB through a remarkable period of transition and transformation,” said Board Chairma, Patrick Bradley. “We are incredibly grateful for her service to the organization and wish her the best in her future endeavors. While we will miss Christine, we look forward to a bright future with a new director who will lead ARB into our next phase of development. The board has formed a search committee to identify a new executive director and we have a strong plan in place for the interim.”
Until a new director is appointed, Lisa Beth Vettoso, ARB’s Director of Educational Programming, will serve as Acting Executive Director. Vettoso has led the growth of ARB’s Access & Enrichment initiatives, including the expansion of ARB’s DANCE POWER program in New Brunswick public schools and the introduction of educational assembly and residency programs to new schools throughout the state. Prior to joining ARB, Vettoso worked at the management level in the education departments of several arts institutions including Carnegie Hall, State Theatre NJ Regional Arts Center, and Arts Horizons. She most recently served as Managing Director of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable, an organization devoted to arts education throughout New York City and surrounding areas.
Chen wrote the following letter:
It is with great difficulty that I am informing you that I will be leaving American Repertory Ballet at the end of the month to accept a position at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, where I live with my family. Working at American Repertory Ballet these last four years has been an amazing experience, and I've been thrilled and honored to work with a most supportive board, a dedicated executive team and a most talented artistic and educational staff. My ties to the organization run deep, and I will always remain a supporter, patron and advocate of ARB.
ARB's Board of Trustees has formed a search committee to secure a new director, and we are working together to make this a smooth and seamless transition. During the interim, Lisa Beth Vettoso, our Director of Educational Programming, will be serving as Acting Executive Director. Since joining ARB, she has led the growth of ARB's Access & Enrichment initiatives, including the expansion of ARB's DANCE POWER program in New Brunswick public schools and the introduction of educational assembly and residency programs to new schools throughout the state. Prior to joining us, she worked at Carnegie Hall, State Theatre, Arts Horizons and was most recently the Managing Director of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable, an organization devoted to arts education throughout New York City and surrounding areas. Artistic Director Douglas Martin and Princeton Ballet School Director Mary Pat Robertson will work closely with Lisa Beth, and will continue to ensure the quality of all our programming.
I will be volunteering some time during February and March to be available for consultation, and I also plan to attend ARB's many exciting performance and events this spring, so I hope to see you there! The organization is in an extremely strong position, financially and artistically, and it is an opportune time to identify a new director who can take the organization to the next level.
Finally, I am pleased and proud to present you with ARB's 2013 Annual Report - I encourage you to read through it for more on ARB's progress and priorities this past year. For more on my transition, here is a link to the official press release.
Thank you for your support through the years and for making my time at ARB so meaningful and inspiring.
Executive Director, American Repertory Ballet