NEW YORK CITY: Pace University has announced Jennifer M. Holmes as the new executive director of the Pace School of Performing Arts (PPA). Holmes, who began her teaching career as an adjunct at Pace University teaching world drama, theatre history, and acting, will now lead PPA’s academics, operations, budget, productions, and fundraising activities for its eight degree programs. She replaces the previous interim executive director, Grant Kretchik.
“We are delighted to welcome Jennifer Holmes to Dyson College and our Pace School of Performing Arts community,” said Tresmaine R. Grimes, dean of the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences and School of Education, in a statement. “Her impressive artistic background and leadership experience will be called upon as we continue to provide one of the most forward-thinking and sought-after performing arts school in New York City. We look forward to the many ways she will drive innovation, open artistic doors for our diverse population of talented students as well as expand Pace School of Performing Arts’ offerings.”
Previously, Holmes served as the dean of the College of Arts, Communications, and Design at both the Post and Brooklyn campuses of Long Island University (LIU). Holmes was also named the inaugural dean of two new schools at LIU: The Roc Nation School of Music, Sports, and Entertainment and the George Polk School of Communications. Prior to her work at LIU, Holmes worked at the New School as the associate dean for Academic Affairs at the School of Drama. There, she redesigned and updated the Drama BFA and MFA curricula, developed new initiatives at the College of Performing Arts, and directed the U.S. premiere of Last Train to Tomorrow, composed and conducted by Carl Davis, and Shining Lights in the Lingering Night in partnership with 400 Years of Inequality. She also initiated the Cultural Change Task Force, a cohort of faculty, students, and administrators dedicated to fostering inclusive, diverse, and equitable theatre arts practice.
“Pace Performing Arts has a history of nurturing courageous and creative thinkers who shape the arts industry here in America and abroad,” said Holmes in a statement. “I am proud to join this team of artists, educators, and administrators who together will expand the boundaries of contemporary theatre and performance. I look forward to sharing my experience with them and, equally, learning from them. Graduates of Pace Performing Arts are positioned to be the change makers and innovators who will ensure our industry is more imaginative, more equitable, more diverse, and more inclusive. I am thrilled and inspired by the opportunity to lead one of the most exciting and highly regarded performing arts schools in the world.”
Holmes is an internationally recognized leader in arts education who holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. from New York University, as well as a B.A. from Vassar College. Her work as a performer and director has been seen in theatre, film, and television, and she is the founder and director of Global Empowerment Theatre, an international nonprofit theatre organization. Holmes has devised theatre in India, Kenya, Myanmar, Tanzania, and the United Kingdom in addition to her work around the U.S.
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