DNAWORKS Reveals New Leadership: Andrés Franco Named Executive Director

Learn more about the new appointments here!

By: Sep. 20, 2023
DNAWORKS Reveals New Leadership: Andrés Franco Named Executive Director

DNAWORKS has announced the appointment of Andrés Franco as the organization’s first-ever Executive Director. In addition, three new Co-Curators will join Co-Founder Daniel Banks: Troy Lambert, Sarita Ocón, and Seema Sueko.

“We are thrilled to welcome Andrés Franco as our first Executive Director,” shares Banks. “Andrés is a visionary leader, thinker, and artist, and will be a valuable co-creator in this next phase of DNAWORKS's journey. That his arrival coincides with the formation of the Co-Curator team is beautiful and powerful synergy as DNAWORKS seeks to expand and transform existing models of leadership and art-making.”

As Executive Director, Franco is responsible for overseeing the programs, operations, fundraising, and finances of DNAWORKS, which is currently based in both Fort Worth, TX, and Pittsburgh, PA, and presents its programs worldwide. Franco, who immigrated to the U.S. in 2000 from Colombia, is an arts administrator and artist committed to social justice, which makes him uniquely qualified for this position. Most recently, Franco served as the Executive Director of City of Asylum in Pittsburgh, where he led a complex operation that manages the largest exiled writer residency program in the world, presents more than 160 free arts and culture programs annually, and operates eight apartments as well as a bookstore, restaurant, and reading garden. Prior to that, he served as the Resident Conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras, and Music Director of the Signature Symphony.

“I am honored to join DNAWORKS as its inaugural Executive Director,” said Franco, who began his job on July 17. “I am excited to work with the Co-Curators, Advisory Board, and staff to build on the extraordinary vision that DNAWORKS has embodied for more than 17 years. As we explore and co-create a new organizational model, we envision a field that is more transparent, equitable, and healthy for all involved — artists, audiences, and organizational partners.”

Co-Curators Lambert, Ocón, and Sueko will collaborate with Banks to develop new works and initiatives for DNAWORKS, each working outside of their individual arts specialties to purposefully broaden their artistic visions and experience. The co-curators will be involved in the creative planning, development, and oversight of individual projects that further DNAWORKS's mission and goals.

“The Co-Curators come from multiple disciplines and have spanned DNAWORKS's nearly 18 years,” explains Banks. “One Co-Curator has been part of the company since the very beginning, one in our orbit for five years, and one very new to us — all with aligned values and aspirations for arts and humanity. As Co-Founder Adam W. McKinney moves to his new role as Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, we are thrilled to welcome this inspiring and world-making team.”

The Co-Curators look forward to this new model of shared leadership, explaining: “The co-curation team is an experiment in a wall-less organization focused on connecting art and people in a variety of ways. We are honored to be part of this work-in-progress, testing and evolving ideas and opportunities for artistic expression together, with a larger goal of contributing to building healthier communities.”

DNAWORKS creates interdisciplinary, social justice performance, film, and installation art to catalyze community dialogue and healing through the arts. HaMapah/The Map Dance-on-Film, its adaptation of the dance-theatre production HaMapah/The Map, has won awards at such festivals as the Paris International Short Festival, the Berlin Short Film Festival, and the LGBTQ Unbordered International Film Festival, among others. DNAWORKS’s current production-in-progress, The Secret Sharer, is a 2023 NEFA National Dance Project finalist and past recipient of NEA and MAP Fund awards. The Real James Bond…Was Dominican will be performed this November at Arts Emerson/Emerson College’s Paramount Center in Boston. www.DNAWORKS.org

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