Sam Sweet Is Named New Executive Director Of The Atlas Performing Arts Center

2/18/2011, 10:47 p.m.
***Sweet will lead the burgeoning five year old arts center located in the heart of...

***Sweet will lead the burgeoning five year old arts center located in the heart of the historic H Street NE neighborhood***
The Atlas Performing Arts Center's Board of Directors has selected Sam Sweet to be its new Executive Director. As Executive Director, Sweet will manage and coordinate programming for the Atlas' performance venues, enhance the organization's visibility, build its management team and emphasize the Atlas' role as a vibrant collaborative arts center in Washington's most dynamic neighborhood. Sweet is no stranger to the Washington arts scene having served as Managing

Director for Shakespeare Theatre and Signature Theatre for six and seven years, respectively. Having successfully led both organizations through critical transitions, he is an accomplished leader focused on helping non-profits thrive through the advancement of their missions. During the past year, Sweet has served as a management consultant to and Interim Executive Director of the Atlas, implementing strategies to strengthen its organizational capacity. Sweet's selection comes as the result of a national five month search, and his tenure as Executive Director will begin immediately.

"We could not be more pleased to have a professional of Sam's caliber lead the Atlas," states Atlas Founder and Board Chair Jane Lang. "The Board and staff were impressed not only with his achievements in critical leadership roles, but also with the way he has devoted himself to energizing the Atlas and fulfilling its mission."

H Street Community Development Corporation Executive Director Kenneth J. Brewer, Sr. is also enthusiastic to work with Sweet. "Sam Sweet is a highly skilled and adroit theater management professional," says Brewer. "Thusly, I am pleased that he will lead the Atlas Performing Arts Center. HSCDC looks forward to continuing our relationship in furtherance of the revitalization of the H Street corridor."

Centered in the culturally historic and ever-expanding H Street NE corridor, the Atlas Performing Arts Center has become an anchor institution and a destination for Washington's professional and emerging artists and diverse audiences.

"It is truly an exciting time for the Atlas," states Sweet. "The Atlas is a state-of-the art venue that is energizing the community artistically and economically with its range of programs. Jane's vision in founding the Atlas was to put people - artists, audience members, neighbors - at the center of its mission. We should be a center for community conversation, where a range of artistic and individual experiences can come together to be celebrated. The upcoming INTERSECTIONS: A New America Arts Festival is an example. I look forward to building upon this momentum to move the Atlas forward." Sweet will focus on preparing the Atlas for its next phase of organizational growth through increased capacity for programs, operations, education and community engagement.

About the Executive Director

Sam Sweet is an experienced and accomplished leader with proven success sparking innovation, change and growth. Sweet previously served as Managing Director at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia. At Signature, he led a small but artistically respected local theatre from its renovated garage space to a new, two-theater $16 million complex while building its organizational capacity to become a national force for developing and producing musical theatre, laying the groundwork for it to win the Regional Theater TONY award in 2009. Prior to that, Sweet was Managing Director at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC from 1995 to 2001. Working collaboratively with Artistic Director Michael Kahn, Sweet led the Theatre to become one of the largest nonprofit theaters in the country and he began the planning for what would later become the Harman Center for the Arts. More recently, Sam served as Chief Operating Officer for the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art and Design. He has served on the Boards of the DC Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Business Improvement District, Arlington Economic Development Commission, Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington and Leadership Greater Washington, and he was a founding board member of the Cultural Development Corporation. Sweet's "visionary leadership" was recognized by the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation with its Exponent Award in 2007. Sweet also leads his own consulting practice, Sam Sweet Consulting, helping non-profits build organizational capacity. Sweet is an adjunct Professor in the Master of Arts Management program at George Mason University. He has a BA from Columbia University and an MBA from Virginia Tech.

About the Atlas Performing Arts Center
The Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, DC is located in a historic movie theatre complex on H Street, NE. H Street had been a bustling retail corridor for decades before the 1968 riots. In 2003, spurred by Jane Lang's vision and commitment to restore the Atlas as a performing arts center, the city adopted a plan to rebuild the corridor and identified the Atlas as central to the revitalization. Vacant for years, the Atlas movie theatre re-opened as the Atlas Performing Arts Center in November, 2006 following an extensive four-year renovation. It is a 60,000 square foot landmark complex that includes four theatres, three dance studios, administrative offices, dressing rooms, lobbies, a cafe and production and rehearsal spaces. The center is home to a diverse group of locally renowned theatre and dance companies, symphony orchestras, choral groups and arts education programs. Its mission includes serving the greater metropolitan D.C. area as well as being the artistic heart of its immediate community.

The mission of the Atlas Performing Arts Center is to foster the artistic growth of professional and aspiring performing artists throughout the region; to create a new model for collaborative arts management; to establish a unique community-centered venue for training and education in the performing arts and stagecraft; and to energize and sustain the revitalization of H Street, NE and the surrounding community.

Upcoming Events at the Atlas Performing Arts Center

INTERSECTIONS: A New America Arts Festival
where arts merge and culture meet
February 25 - March 13, 2011
202.399.7993 ext. 2
INTERSECTIONS: A New America Arts Festival showcases the talents and diversity of over 600 Washington, DC established and emerging artists in more than 100 performances in nine days.

The INTERSECTIONS festival is a catalyst for creating dialogue and connections between Washington's extraordinarily talented artists and its residents. Audiences will have a lively and unforgettable arts experience. The Festival is programmed to allow audiences to engage and to interact with one another before and after various performances.

In addition to its main stage performances and special events, the curated festival will also feature emerging and established artists in its Washington Post Cafe Concerts in the Kogod Lobby of the Atlas Performing Arts Center. The cafe concerts are designed to engage audiences before, during and after festival performances.

Each Saturday during the three week festival has been programmed with Family Day performances, cafe concerts and activities. Family themed events include a new children's musical, circus performances and live music workshops.

The Festival is just one of the programming initiatives at the Atlas Performing Arts Center focused on the showcasing the strength of Washington's arts community. Situated in the heart of the historic H Street Northeast Corridor, the Atlas Performing Arts Center has produced and presented more than 2,500 performing and visual arts events including a newly created film series.

Major support for INTERSECTIONS: A New America Arts Festival comes from The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region's FIRE Fund, which was established to promote interracial understanding and collaboration. Additional support provided by the Eugene M. Lang Foundation.

Atlas Performing Arts
1333 H Street, NE, WDC, 20002