Sarah Curran Named Director of Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts

Sarah Curran Named Director of Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts
Ssrah Curran
Sarah Curran. Photo by ToniBird Photography.
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Middletown, Conn., December 13, 2016Wesleyan University has announced that Sarah Curran, Associate Director of the Stanford Arts Institute, will lead its internationally recognized Center for the Arts starting on February 20, 2017.  

Curran brings to the job more than ten years of experience in arts programming, a creative interdisciplinary curatorial practice, wide knowledge of contemporary performance, and a deep understanding of academia. At the Stanford Arts Institute, where she was previously Director of Programming and Partnerships, Curran designed a sustainable mobile art studio built by students; built a research residency program to allow artists to spend their time doing academic research to inform new projects; expanded an arts immersion program, taking students to different cultural capitals across the U.S.; and created the 72 Hour Musical Project, in which teams of students wrote the basis for a new musical over the course of a weekend. Prior to coming to Stanford, she worked with the Tribeca Film Festival, Martha Graham Dance, and the Chicago Humanities Festival.

Curran is a graduate of Wesleyan’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP). She earned a Master’s degree in Performance Studies from New York University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Religion, Theater, and Dance from Princeton University.

“We are excited to welcome Sarah Curran to Wesleyan,” said Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth. “Sarah is a collaborative leader, and I know that our faculty and students look forward to working with her to curate programming that elevates and integrates the arts across the campus and enhances their teaching and learning.”

“I am thrilled to join the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan, a school I have long admired for its integration of the arts into the fabric of campus life,” said Curran. “I look forward to building on the great work already taking place at the Center.”

The Center for the Arts serves as a cultural center by presenting a wide variety of events and exhibitions—from student and faculty work to visiting ensembles—attracting more than 43,000 patrons annually to over 375 events. The Center is recognized for its world music and dance programs, and the strength of the Music Department’s graduate program in Ethnomusicology.

Programming at the Center for the Arts includes the Performing Arts Series, which features world-class artists in jazz, classical, folk, and world music; cutting-edge dance companies noted for their artistic rigor and innovation; and groundbreaking theater performances and discussions; contemporary art exhibitions in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery; and interdisciplinary arts festivals with regional partners.

In April 2016, former Center of the Arts Director Pamela Tatge left the university after 16 years to serve as Executive Director of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Laura Paul has served as Interim Director of the Center for the Arts since February 2016.

About the Center for the Arts
Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts exists to catalyze people’s creativity by engaging them in the dynamic work of diverse artists. Three inter-related activities enable the CFA to realize its purpose:

--supporting the research, public productions, and in-studio teaching needs of the departments of Art and Art History, Dance, Music, and Theater;
--leading inter-disciplinary collaborations and other initiatives that integrate artists into creative curricular and co-curricular initiatives; and
--organizing powerful encounters between visiting artists and diverse elements of the Wesleyan community, the greater Middletown community, statewide, and regional audiences.  

The Center for the Arts opened in the fall of 1973, and includes the Adzenyah Rehearsal Hall, the 400-seat Crowell Concert Hall, the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, the 260-seat Ring Family Performing Arts Hall (former CFA Hall), the 400-seat Theater, the World Music Hall (a non-Western performance space), and classrooms and studios.

The Center for the Arts gratefully acknowledges the support of its many generous funders and collaborators, including The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the American Express Foundation, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, the City of Middletown, the Connecticut Office of the Arts, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New England Foundation for the Arts, and the Surdna Foundation, as well as media sponsors the Hartford Courant, the Inner-City News, WESU 88.1FM, and WNPR.

For more information about Center for the Arts, please call (860) 685-3355, or visit