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ABT News

January 16, 2016

Kara Medoff Barnett Named Executive Director at ABT

Donald Kramer, Chairman of The Board of Governing Trustees at American Ballet Theatre, announced the appointment of Kara Medoff Barnett to the position of Executive Director at American Ballet Theatre, effective February 16, 2016. Barnett joins ABT from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where she has served as Managing Director of Lincoln Center International since 2012 and previously as Senior Director of Lincoln Center’s Capital Campaign and Director of Strategy and Business Development.

As Managing Director of Lincoln Center International, Barnett extended Lincoln Center’s imprint as the world’s leading performing arts center by advancing global philanthropic, educational and convening activities. Barnett has advised cultural organizations, leaders and philanthropists worldwide in strategic planning, construction, programming, management and operations of new arts facilities. She has established Advisory Councils in China and Latin America and welcomed foreign dignitaries including the Vice Premier and First Lady of China to Lincoln Center’s campus.  In September 2015, Barnett was instrumental in launching the Lincoln Center Global Exchange, a gathering of leaders across industries and regions devoted to exploring the role art and culture play in addressing critical challenges facing our collective future. As founder and Director of Lincoln Center’s Strategy Group, an internal consulting team with a diverse portfolio of projects, she successfully fostered cross-functional collaborations, non-traditional partnerships and new business development.

Barnett has produced theater on and off Broadway and received a 2003 Tony Award as an Associate Producer of Long Day’s Journey Into Night.  She currently serves on the Advisory Committee of the American Theatre Wing.

"I am so pleased to make this announcement today,” said Donald Kramer, Chairman of the Board of Governing Trustees.  “Kara’s proven track record as an innovative leader, fundraiser and planner positions her perfectly to lead ABT into its next exciting chapter.  Her experience working with leaders of ambitious performing arts projects around the world bodes well for ABT in its role as a leading national and international cultural ambassador.  We are confident that she can bring her executive skill to the benefit of ABT, and we welcome her to our organization."

Barnett was recruited as American Ballet Theatre’s new Executive Director following an extensive search, which began in June 2015.  ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie has served in the capacity of acting Executive Director since August 2015 and will continue his work as full-time Artistic Director upon Barnett’s arrival. 

"American Ballet Theatre is one of our country’s most vibrant cultural treasures and one of the world’s preeminent ballet companies," said Barnett.  "To be asked to help lead this extraordinary institution is truly a privilege.  With a beloved and growing repertoire, esteemed education programs, extensive national and international engagements, and outstanding dancers, ABT is poised for a dazzling future.  Working in partnership with Kevin McKenzie, a resourceful board, a gifted staff and an unparalleled company of artists and educators will be thrilling.  Together with them I look forward to sharing the vitality and wonder of ballet with expanding audiences in New York City, across the country, and around the world."

Speaking of Barnett’s appointment, McKenzie said, "I am delighted to welcome Kara as my partner and to ABT. With a warmth and palpable intellect, she brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding of what an artistic institution needs to thrive and excel."

Barnett is a summa cum laude graduate of Duke University and received her MBA from Harvard Business School.  She is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Class of 2015 Henry Crown Fellows at the Aspen Institute.  In 2014, Barnett was named “40 Under 40” in Crain’s New York Business.

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