Northrop's Ben Johnson Announces Departure for The United States Artists Foundation

Northrop's Ben Johnson Announces Departure for The United States Artists Foundation

Ben Johnson, Director of Northrop Concerts and Lectures at the University of Minnesota, announces his departure effective January 1, 2013 to accept a new position in Los Angeles as the Director of Programs for the United States Artists Foundation. In this position, Johnson will administer the prestigious USA Fellows program, which awards major $50,000 grants annually to 50 artists who work in film, theater, dance, music, design, visual arts, literature, and American craft. He will be directly engaged with USA Projects, which is an online micro-philanthropy platform for artists to raise funds for the creation of new projects.

The United States Artists Foundation invests in America’s finest artists and illuminates the value of artists to society. A coalition of leading foundations (Ford, Rockefeller, Prudential, and Rasmuson) realized the need to directly support American artists and launched United States Artists in 2005 with $22 million in seed funding. The organization awards $2.5 million in grants each year to artists across the country. USA’s long term vision is to permanently endow its USA Fellowship Program.

Johnson said, “Naturally, the decision to depart Northrop was incredibly difficult, as this historic organization and program has been instrumental in my arts career. This opportunity to serve artists so directly, and at such a scale, is at the center of my greatest passions and career aspirations. I will be actively engaged in the LA art scene, as well as working on a national level in all 50 states. I want to thank my many advocates and supporters, my wonderful colleagues in the University and community that I have worked with over the years, our local and national funding institutions, the Northrop patrons, the Friends of Northrop, the hundreds of artists and organizations who have crossed Northrop’s stage, and the many gifted artists and passionate administrators who reside in our state. I will be eternally grateful to the committed and hardworking staff of Northrop for their tremendous skill, energy, and enthusiasm, and their passion and commitment to the arts.”

Northrop Director Christine Tschida said, “Ben Johnson has been an admired and trusted colleague for many years. His wonderful presenting skills, curatorial acumen, and vision for the new Northrop have inspired me as I have worked alongside him these past few months; and he has coached me as I’ve assumed my new role. I will miss him terribly, but I am thrilled to hear his excitement as he embraces this amazing new opportunity. I am also grateful that Ben has been instrumental in laying so much of the groundwork for the grand reopening of Northrop, the 2013-14 season, and many special projects in years to come. Ben’s legacy has been a great one at Northrop Concerts and Lectures, and, in the exciting seasons ahead, I know you will see his influence - and also his smiling face, in what I hope will be frequent visits!”

Northrop will continue to deliver world-class, international dance programming and community engagement activities while building an expansive vision for Northrop’s new facilities that increases multi-disciplinary programming while collaboratively engaging students and faculty.

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