The Bessies, announced today that Lucy Sexton, who has served as Executive Director of The Bessies since 2009, is stepping down to expand her work in cultural advocacy with New Yorkers for Culture & Arts and to pursue new creative projects. She will continue in an advisory role until the end of January 2020. Michele Thompson joins the organization as Interim Executive Director.
Steering Committee Chair Martin Wechsler said, “Lucy has had a tremendous impact on the NY Dance and Performance Awards. Throughout her ten years as the executive director she expanded the scope of The Bessies to recognize all genres of dance and performance, while remaining true to its ‘downtown’ dance roots. She created new opportunities to support and lift up artists, and she brought The Bessies more powerfully into the public eye. We are immensely indebted and grateful to Lucy for her years of leadership at The Bessies.”
During her tenure, Sexton helped The Bessies become an independent organization serving New York dance throughout the year. In addition to her oversight of the organization, she broadened the scope of the awards by increasing the size of the Selection Committee so that it could better recognize the wide range of dance happening in New York City; established partnerships with organizations including the American Dance Festival, CUNY Dance Initiative, NYS DanceForce, Dance/NYC, and the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography; and initiated open roundtable discussions for dance artists and presenters connecting The Bessies more deeply within the community. In addition to the awards for dance artists presented at the annual ceremony, new awards introduced include the Juried Bessie Award, which helps the chosen artist’s work get seen outside of NYC, the Bessies Presenter Award for Outstanding Curating, and the Bessie Angel Award for individuals garnering resources for dance.
“It has been a great honor and joy to serve as executive director of The Bessies,” said Sexton. “I’ve been involved in New York dance my entire life and want nothing more than for the dance communities of this city to be recognized and strengthened. I am thrilled that the work of The Bessies will continue with my invaluable Bessies collaborator Heather Robles, and the esteemed Michele Thompson.”
Sexton will be working full-time as the Executive Director of the cultural advocacy coalition New Yorkers for Culture & Arts, which advocates for increased funding and improved public policy to support culture in the city.
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