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New leader brings hands-on experience with arts education and nonprofit management
PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia Young Playwrights (PYP) announced today that Lisa Nelson-Haynes, an experienced nonprofit leader and arts administrator as the Associate Director at the Painted Bride Art Center, will serve as the organization’s Executive Director, beginning April 5, 2016. Nelson-Haynes takes the reins of an organization that uses playwriting to teach literacy and leadership skills to some 2,000 students in more than 65 classrooms in the Philadelphia region.
“After a careful search,” said Jim Geier, President of PYP’s Board of Directors, “the Board believes Lisa has all the tools required to lead PYP in the next phase of our growth, including her most important characteristic: a passion for the mission of unleashing the potential of young people through playwriting.”
Having spent 15 years at the Painted Bride Art Center, Nelson-Haynes brings to PYP a deep knowledge of the Philadelphia arts-education community, coupled with hands-on experience with nonprofit management and educational programming. In her role there as associate director, Nelson-Haynes ran the Center’s educational outreach and residency programs, marketing and communications departments and managed contractual relationships with artists. Most recently, she has worked with the Bride’s executive director Laurel Raczka and University of the Arts dance director Donna Faye Burchfield to shepherd the ambitious project, Re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia -- an 18-month initiative to expand the archive of the city’s cultural memory through multiple histories that “re-place” established narratives with new perspectives. She is also a nationally recognized expert in digital storytelling through her work as a facilitator with Storycenter, which uses the art of first-person narrative as a tool for education, advocacy and community-building.
Nelson-Haynes is a graduate of Hampton University and a candidate for a M.F.A. in film-making at Temple University. A self-described child of the arts scene in Philadelphia, she and her family currently live in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania. One of her two children is a participant in a PYP playwriting program at Independence Charter School.
“Philadelphia Young Playwrights has earned an outstanding reputation throughout the region for its unique and effective approach to fostering learning for students of all ages and backgrounds,” said Nelson-Haynes. “I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to lead an organization that has been such a vital force in the lives of Philadelphia’s young people for more than 25 years. I look forward to working with PYP’s talented staff and incredible network of teachers, teaching artists, theater partners and supporters to drive the next era of growth and ensure this great organization will continue to tap the potential of youth for years to come.”
Nelson-Haynes succeeds Glen Knapp, who left PYP in December after 15 years to pursue new career opportunities in education and the foundation world.
About Philadelphia Young Playwrights
Founded in 1987, Philadelphia Young Playwrights is an award-winning program that taps the potential of youth and inspires learning through playwriting in more than 65 public and private K-12 classrooms each year. A leader in arts education in the Philadelphia region, Young Playwrights believes that all students have something important to say and nurtures student voices through in-classroom playwriting workshops, an annual playwriting festival, public presentations at schools, and professional productions at local theaters. Since its founding, Young Playwrights has served nearly 60,000 students and their teachers and partnered with approximately 60 professional playwrights and numerous Philadelphia’s professional theater companies. Young Playwrights alumni span many sectors and industries; among its alumni are novelist Elise Juska, Chair of Creating Writing at University of the Arts; Adam Goldberg, Executive Producer of ABC’s The Goldbergs and Chairman of Young Playwrights’ Alumni Council; and Quiara Alegría Hudes, Tony-nominee, 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama Winner and Young Playwrights board member.
Contact: Carrie Gorn, Publicist