University of Houston College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Dean John W. Roberts has appointed Sixto Wagan as the director of the newly created Center for Arts Leadership, an inaugural program of the UH Arts initiative.
In this new role, Wagan will advance the university’s local and national arts leadership initiatives through public programming.
“The Center for Arts Leadership will explore how leadership, especially in the arts, can be responsive and reflective of the changing demographics in Houston and nationally,” Wagan said. “Through annual symposia and strategic partnerships between university and community entities, the center will investigate, create and test leadership practices.”
Wagan has nearly 20 years of experience as a performing arts curator, educator and public art administrator. He joins UH from DiverseWorks, the nonprofit art center in Houston that commissions and presents contemporary visual, performing and literary art. He served as DiverseWorks’ performing arts director from 2002-2006, co-executive director and performing arts curator from 2006 – 2011 and artistic director starting in 2011.
During his tenure at DiverseWorks, Wagan organized more than 100 projects and developed a reputation for collaborating with performers whose works tackle prescient cultural, social, and political issues. He presented the U.S. premieres of Jean-Baptiste Andre’s “Interior Nuit,” André Gingras’ “The Sweet Flesh Room” and Company Clare Dyson’s “The Voyeur.”
“I am delighted that someone with Mr. Wagan's experience and vision has accepted the challenge of developing this new center,” Roberts said. “With the new Master of Arts in Arts Leadership program welcoming its first class this fall, we are well on our way to establishing the University of Houston as the destination for students and arts professionals interested in arts leadership. He will be a key player in making UH Arts a national model for community collaboration around the arts."
The Center for Arts Leadership was established with the Houston Endowment’s $1.51 million gift to the UH Arts initiative for arts facilities enhancements and new public programming. Wagan will direct the Center’s activities outside of the classroom to encourage innovation within the classrooms.
“The Center will promote collaborations and joint-investigations across the departments in CLASS, capitalizing on artistic successes and investigations by the University's students and faculty,” Wagan said. “I'm interested in how arts leadership can be expanded beyond the arts community.”
(Photo credit: RJWarren Photography)