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Atlanta Ballet names Arthur Jacobus as new executive director

Atlanta Ballet is set to announce its new executive director: Arthur Jacobus, former boss of Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet. His most recent job was as chief executive officer and executive director of the Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, founded by celebrated glassmaker Dale Chihuly. 

Jacobus has served as chief executive of six major arts organizations across the country and has been a board member of DanceUSA, a national service organization. He will take charge of the 80-year-old Atlanta Ballet in January.

“Arthur is a premier individual in the dance world and has the vision to take Atlanta Ballet to whole new plateaus and enrich the Atlanta community and arts in the region,” said John McFall, artistic director of Atlanta Ballet. “We are fortunate to have such a pioneer at the helm and we welcome his new ideas and expectations.” 

Here’s the press release:

BALLET ICON TO LEAD ATLANTA BALLET AS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

ATLANTA (November 23, 2009) – Atlanta Ballet, the longest continually operating ballet company in the nation, is proud to announce the selection of Arthur Jacobus as its new Executive Director.

Lauded in the performing arts community for his strong business acumen and visionary leadership, Jacobus has nearly 20 years of experience in the ballet field serving as president and executive director, respectively, of two internationally recognized ballet companies, Pacific Northwest Ballet and San Francisco Ballet.

During his nearly decade long tenure at San Francisco Ballet, Jacobus led the creation of a strategic plan that helped put the company on the world stage and built a $35 million endowment. As president of Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet, he led the organization from its early developmental stages to a fully professional organization and successfully led a $13.5 million capital campaign to build a new ballet center at the Seattle Center. Jacobus was tapped for the position after an extensive nation-wide search conducted by the Atlanta Ballet Board of Directors.

“As we celebrate 80 years of Atlanta Ballet’s rich history, we are elated to have found an executive director that will continue to move us in the right direction,” said Allen W. Nelson, Atlanta Ballet Board Chair. “Our search was extensive to say the least, as it was crucial to select someone that understood both the artistic and strategic vision of Atlanta Ballet. Arthur has a strong track record of industry excellence and we are honored to have someone with his passion, experience and appreciation for the arts.”

In addition to joining Atlanta Ballet at the height of its 80th anniversary season, Jacobus will also take over Atlanta Ballet’s $14.8 million capital campaign, the largest fundraising effort in the organization’s history. To date, $13.6 million has been raised and funds from the capital campaign will support Atlanta Ballet’s new LEED-certified headquarters, set to open summer 2010, and ensure the long term sustainability of the organization.

Jacobus joins Atlanta Ballet after serving as CEO and Executive Director of Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, Washington, founded by world premier glass artist Dale Chihuly and recognized as the largest, most comprehensive educational center in the world for artists working in glass. All told, Jacobus has served as chief executive of six major arts organizations throughout the country including a large performing arts center, a center for wine, food and the arts, a glass school and a large regional orchestra. Jacobus also served as a board member for DanceUSA, the national service organization for the professional dance field.

“Arthur is a premier individual in the dance world and has the vision to take Atlanta Ballet to whole new plateaus and enrich the Atlanta community and arts in the region,” said John McFall, artistic director of Atlanta Ballet. “We are fortunate to have such a pioneer at the helm and we welcome his new ideas and expectations.”

Jacobus will assume office in January, taking over from current interim executive director Virginia Hepner, who stepped into the post on a temporary basis after the departure of Barry Hughson. “I am thrilled to return to the world of ballet,” said Arthur Jacobus. “After a nearly seven year absence, it is exciting to have the opportunity to once again serve the art form about which I am most passionate and in which I have the most experience. I look forward to working with John McFall, Allen Nelson and the Atlanta Ballet board, dancers and staff to advance this wonderful company.”

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