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Fleurette Fernando appointed Director of new Master of Arts in Arts Leadership Program

Former Houston Arts Alliance Grants Director has joined College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences to launch new degree program.

University of Houston College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) Dean John W. Roberts has appointed Fleurette Fernando as the Director of the Master of Arts Degree in Arts Leadership Program.

As the director of this new graduate degree program, Ms. Fernando will administer a curriculum that takes an entrepreneurial approach to preparing creative professionals to launch, develop, and maintain arts organizations of all sizes.

“It is my hope that this newly established program at the University of Houston will serve as a catalyst to implement a strong vision for effective leadership in growing dynamic arts communities and produce the next generation of culture leaders,” said Ms. Fernando.

Ms. Fernando’s arts leadership experience ranges from cultural decision-making as a grants officer and grants panelist to performing as segment host of a national cable television show and teaching at the college, as well as for nonprofit arts centers.

Prior to joining CLASS, she served from 2010 – 2012 as the Director of Grants at the Houston Arts Alliance, the nonprofit agency that manages the City of Houston’s civic art collection and provides grants annually to more than 220 local arts and cultural organizations and artists through a competitive grant allocation process.

Ms. Fernando worked for the Katy Visual and Performing Arts Center from 2007 – 2010, first serving as the Performing Arts Director, then as the Development Director and, finally, as the Executive Director.

Before moving to the greater Houston area, Ms. Fernando’s career included stints as the Associate Producer for the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond, Calif.; management consultant for the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in San Francisco; segment producer and host of the BET on Jazz show for Black Entertainment Television in Washington, D.C.; and artistic director of the Black Theatre Workshop in Montreal.

As an educator, Ms. Fernando has been an adjunct professor of theater studies at the University of Houston, Downtown and a dance, drama and stage movement instructor at a junior high school and with a youth ensemble and professional theater company.

She earned both a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in Theater from York University in Toronto and a certificate in professional training in directing from the National Theatre School of Canada.

“We are delighted to have someone with Ms. Fernando’s experience and training in the arts to lead the development of this program,” said Dean Roberts. “Her presence is another reason why the University of Houston will shortly be considered the place in the country where leaders in the arts are made.”

As the M.A. in Arts Leadership program director, Ms. Fernando will recruit students for the program, serve as the primary academic advisor, and teach two graduate courses. She will also work with local arts and culture organizations to identify internship opportunities and placements for the program’s students.

A 2012 study released by the Houston Arts Alliance and the University of Houston highlighted that more than 11,000 “creative economy” jobs had been created in greater Houston since 2001. The metropolitan area’s creative economy was defined in the study as businesses that “conceptualize, create and sell an array of products ranging from architecture, music, photographs and films to textiles, fashion, websites, advertising and much, much more.” And those creative businesses had a $9.1 billion impact on the overall Houston economy in 2011.

“Congratulations to Ms. Fernando and the University of Houston on this appointment,” said Jonathon Glus, chief executive officer of the Houston Arts Alliance. “Fleurette’s broad experience in arts management, theatre directing and grant making is an extraordinary foundation for leading this new endeavor for UH.”

The M.A. in Arts Leadership will provide advanced study in the management and promotion of arts organizations across artistic disciplines. The degree requires 30 semester credit hours of coursework and six credit hours of internship in an arts organization or program. Students enrolled full-time can complete the degree requirements in two years.

The program is accepting applications now. The deadline to submit all application materials is June 28.

To learn more about the M.A. in Arts Leadership Degree program, visit: