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Collaboration Top of Mind for New Clarice Smith Center Executive Director

August 7, 2013

Erica Bondarev 301-405-0199

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center has named long-time arts administrator Martin Wollesen as executive director.  Susie Farr, retiring this September, has served as executive director of the center for fourteen years. As executive director, Wollesen will provide innovative and strategic leadership for the Center's programmatic, educational and community activities.

The University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center has named long-time arts administrator Martin Wollesen as executive director."We are extremely pleased to have Martin join the university.  He brings more than 20 years of experience in arts administration and higher education to the Clarice Smith Center," says Mary Ann Rankin, UMD's senior vice president and provost. "His experience creating meaningful and innovative arts programs that enhance student life and support community involvement will be a great asset to our campus."

In his new role, Wollesen will work closely with university leadership to advance the Center's mission; strengthen faculty and student collaborations; and cultivate new and existing community relationships. He will work in close collaboration with the School of Music and the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies to develop activities, programs and initiatives that support and enhance the learning environment. Wollesen will also play a key role in the Center's fundraising and development efforts.

"Martin has proven his strength and leadership in creating robust partnerships that integrate the arts across campuses and within local communities," says Bonnie Thornton Dill, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. "We are pleased to have another incredible arts advocate on our campus to enhance the visibility of the Center and continue to create important connections between students, faculty, staff, alumni, artists, and the community."

"I am thrilled to be joining not only one of the best campus-based performing arts centers in the country, but a world-class university as well," says Wollesen. "While honoring the achievements of the university by strengthening current programs and partnerships, we will build a new future by working collaboratively, strategically and globally to create greater depth and breadth of dialogue in the arts through the Clarice Smith Center."

Prior to joining the Clarice Smith Center, Wollesen served as director of university events at the University of California, San Diego, where he provided oversight, management, artistic direction and strategic development for the University Events Office's programs and services, that include significant campus traditions, large-scale concerts and a highly respected presenting arts program.

Wollesen concurrently served as artistic director for ArtPower! at UC San Diego, providing artistic guidance and strategic development for the university's premiere multi-arts presenting program in dance, music, spoken word and film. In this role, Wollesen developed the Innovator-in-Residence Program that explored the intersections between the sciences and the arts; and created The Loft, a performance lounge and wine bar, the only venue of its kind on a college campus.  He also created and implemented the Place Matters Project, the most comprehensive, interdisciplinary arts initiative in the university's history. Wollesen also created an individual giving program for ArtPower! that increased giving by 40 percent each season.

Wollesen was previously the director of education and associate director of programming for Stanford Lively Arts at Stanford University. During that time, he created the "Encounter: Merce" project, the university's largest-ever interdisciplinary residency with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Prior to that, he was director of programming for University of California, Santa Cruz Arts & Lectures performing arts program. Wollesen held several other positions for UC Santa Cruz, including the Chancellor's inauguration coordinator and college programs coordinator for the university's Kresge College. He also holds a B.A. from the University of California at Santa Cruz. 

Martin currently serves on the board of directors for the Association of Performing Arts Presenters and California Presenters. He previously served in various board roles with the Western Arts Alliance and San Diego Performing Arts League. In 2012, he was awarded the Western Arts Alliance Vanguard Award for innovation in the arts for The Loft as UCSD.

He will officially assume his duties at the Clarice Smith Center on Sept. 2, 2013.