Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Appoints Shanta Thake as Chief Artistic Officer

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Appoints Shanta Thake as Chief Artistic Officer

New York, NY (August 3, 2021) – Lincoln Center has tapped Shanta Thake, formerly the Associate Artistic Director of the Public Theater, as the institution’s Ehrenkranz Chief Artistic Officer—charged with spearheading Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ artistic strategy.
As a mixed-race woman of color, Thake will serve in the groundbreaking role in the highest ranks of the city’s cultural establishment, Deadline reports. She plans to build greater connections with its constituent organizations and the entirety of the City of New York—Henry Timms, President, and CEO and the Board of Directors announced today.
I’m so grateful to the Board of Directors and leadership for their support as I enter this role, said Shanta Thake, Incoming Ehrenkranz Chief Artistic Officer at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
I moved to New York almost twenty years ago to the day, with big ideas about what was possible—this is really the culmination of a lifetime of deep love of New York’s cultural diversity, the palpable excitement and critical importance of sharing a cultural experience together. I look forward to building upon the tremendous legacy of Jane Moss, while undergoing a period of listening and discovery. I’m confident that together we can help elevate all the greatest parts of this institution and build upon them even further—growing a Lincoln Center where all New Yorkers feel welcome no matter your background and where artists can shine and develop their craft in innovative and exciting new directions.

Making History

Thake joins Lincoln Center at a pivotal time in its history and will build upon its efforts to complement the work of its world-class constituent organizations, activate its full 16-acres to serve more New Yorkers than ever before, and support art forms under-represented on campus.

She will build upon recent endeavors to help instill the arts as core to daily life in the city and beyond—from initiatives like Restart Stages and The GREEN, which activate the campus in new and innovative ways, collaborating with organizations from across the city to welcome New Yorkers to experience the transporting qualities of the arts; to civic activations like blood drives and vaccinations; to commissioning important works like The Baptism by Carl Hancock Rux and directed by Carrie Mae Weems. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Commitment to Change benchmarks efforts to drive real and lasting change for the institution and community.

This new position replaces Lincoln Center’s Artistic Director role, which Jane Moss filled for 26 years before stepping down in 2020. Thake will lead programming decisions alongside staff and guest curators, helping ensure a diversity of perspectives is woven throughout artistic endeavors—fostering openness, access, and building inclusive excellence into the heart of the institution’s programming. She will also help to launch the accelerated opening of David Geffen Hall in the fall of 2022, a project key to these goals.

As co-chair of the search team for our Chief Artistic Officer, I was so impressed with Shanta’s focus on the plurality and democracy of art—her wide and deep understanding of genres and styles, and her profound knowledge and respect for artists across traditions and backgrounds, said Clara Wu Tsai, Founder of the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation and co-chair of the search committee. Her experience comes first from a deep passion for the arts as a tool for communication and mutual understanding; I’m excited to welcome her to Lincoln Center.

We could not ask for a better person than Shanta Thake to fill the role of Lincoln Center’s first-ever Chief Artistic Officer to help us celebrate and elevate excellence across art forms and genres, to use our spaces in new and exciting ways, and help us usher in the opening of David Geffen Hall in ‘22 said Katherine Farley, Chair of the Board of Directors of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Shanta Thake has made an extraordinary career celebrating and cultivating diverse talent from across the city and the world, and we are so pleased to count her as our Chief Artistic Officer, said Henry Timms, President & CEO of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She will be an exceptional ambassador for Lincoln Center and the arts, the keystone in a leadership team that will shepherd Lincoln Center into a new era—as a hub for culture and civic life for all of New York and a symbol of the excellence and resilience of our city.

Thake will assume her role as Ehrenkranz Chief Artistic Officer in September 2021.