The College of Arts & Sciences has named Michelle Witt as the new executive director of Meany Hall and artistic director of UW World Series.
Witts appointment begins on August 1, when she will step into a newly created role that combines the administration of the hall and the management of the UW World Series. Witts vision and skill for strategic planning, fostering artistic growth, attracting new funding sources and building campus and community partnerships made her the right choice to lead the programming and administration of the Universitys premier performing arts venue.
Bob Stacey, divisional dean of arts and humanities, led a national search process that included UW World Series staff and board members, Meany Hall staff, UW faculty, and community leaders. “Michelle Witt is known across the country for her innovative artistic vision and for the collaborative spirit she brings to her role as a performing arts presenter,” he said.
“As executive director of Meany Hall and the new artistic director of UW World Series, she will work to bring a higher profile and a more integrated vision to the entire performing arts program at the University of Washington.” Stacey said the UW is “an enormously exciting place for the performing arts; we look forward to bringing that excitement to an even wider audience of students, faculty, and community members.”
From her home in Santa Cruz, Calif., Witt said, “I am honored to be joining esteemed colleagues to provide collaborative leadership for the Universitys performing arts vision. UW World Series Director Matt Krashan has created a significant legacy and he and the staff have established Meany Hall as a true destination for exceptional performance experiences. I am thrilled to be leading Meany Hall as it embraces a new vision and continues to foster the highest levels of artistic achievement, innovation and engagement in the performing arts.”
With more than 20 years of arts leadership experience, Witt has worked with a prestigious array of performing arts organizations nationwide. She has served in associate and executive director positions with Stanford University Lively Arts, the University of California, Santa Cruz Arts & Lectures, and the Performing Arts division of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, where she developed innovative artistic programming and educational residencies in music, dance, theater and film. Through strategic coalition building, funding and partnership development, she has advanced numerous major initiatives to more deeply integrate the performing arts into the fabric of campus and community life.
Witt most recently served as executive director of the nationally acclaimed San Francisco-based dance company Robert Moses Kin, where she fostered organizational fiscal health in support of artistic growth, and spearheaded the development of the most ambitious interdisciplinary productions and touring in the companys 15-year history.Witt has distinguished herself as a leader in championing new, culturally diverse, creative work in the performing arts and bringing artists into meaningful dialogue with communities.
She also spent many years as a professional violinist and has served as applied music faculty of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and as an academic lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She holds a certificate from WACUBOs Executive Leadership and Management Institute at Stanford and is recipient of a Clifton Webb Academic Fellowship from UCLA, where she was graduated with distinction.
As the founder of the UW World Series with over 29 years of artistic and administrative leadership behind him, retiring director Krashan is pleased to welcome someone with Witts background aboard. “Michelle is just the right person to step into this role,” he said. “She is a dynamic leader with a wealth of experience programming the arts in a university setting. She brings new energy and a fresh outlook that will make a fantastic addition to the staff, the campus, and the Seattle arts community. I know everyone is going to be very excited to work with her.”
Witt will be moving to Seattle with her husband, Hans Hoffmeister, and their daughter, Mia. She will work closely with Krashan for one month prior to his retirement on September 2.