Lauren Henschen has been named the Chief Executive Officer for Central Arts Alliance, which operates Phoenix Center for the Arts. Her new position becomes effective on July 1. Henschen previously served as deputy director for Phoenix Center for the Arts.
The board of directors announced the news on Monday, June 24. In that announcement, board chair Jamie Halavais praises Henschen for her knowledge about both the organization and the community, as well as her business skills. "All of these factors made Lauren the obvious and best choice," Halavais wrote.
She'll replace Joseph Benesh, who recently resigned as executive director for the center in order to become executive director for Arizona Citizens for the Arts effective July 1. He'll replace Catherine “Rusty” Foley, who is retiring after serving as the head of the arts advocacy organization since 2011.
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Henschen has been with Phoenix Center for the Arts since 2013, working in areas that include community partnerships, major events, marketing, and sales. Her new responsibilities will include overseeing operations and programming for Phoenix Center for the Arts, Thunderbird Arts Center, and the Arizona Art Mobile. She'll also be launching the search for a director of institutional advancement for Central Arts Alliance.
She's also active in the community, where she serves on the executive board for the Evans Churchill Community Association and the Hance Park Conservancy. Evans Churchill is home to the Roosevelt Row arts district. In 2017, Henschen graduated in class 38 for Valley Leadership Institute.
Benesh credits Henschen with helping to put Phoenix Center for the Arts on the map. "Lauren has always seen the bigger picture in what we do, who we serve, and what we can do better," he says.