Welcome to our new Interim Executive Co-Director Elizabeth Brodersen
Nonprofit executive Elizabeth Brodersen has more than 25 years’ experience developing and managing original programs that activate the transformative power of art, amplifying marginalized voices and building partnerships that bring artists and communities together to advance social change. She has harnessed a wide range of skills in law, arts administration, education, fundraising, strategic planning, research, and writing in a lifelong effort to achieve a more compassionate and just society. Brodersen is guided by core values of transparency, integrity, humility, and equity. Central to her philosophy are the words of revolutionary theater director Augusto Boal: “We are all actors: being a citizen is not living in society, it is changing it.”
Brodersen began her career as a corporate attorney with a passion for the arts and human rights. Deciding to commit herself wholeheartedly to those causes, she played a key, long-term role in the artistic life of one of this country’s major regional theaters and training institutions— American Conservatory Theater. Appointed A.C.T.’s first Director of Education & Community Programs in 2011, she was tasked with building and expanding programs designed to make theater accessible to diverse Bay Area communities. The programs she developed and oversaw have since then served more than 125,000 students, teachers, and community members. Central components of that programming included: the ACTsmart Partnership Program, which provided free workshops and tickets to more than 40 Title I schools and community‐based organizations (CBOs); Intensive Residencies in San Francisco schools and CBOs serving students from marginalized communities; the Young Conservatory, which provides professional theater training to young people ages 8–19; the Back to the Source annual educator institute; the Fellowship Program for emerging theater professionals; the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program’s Citizen Artist curriculum; and social justice‐focused community engagement programs that celebrated the Bay Area’s diverse communities and supported San Franciscans in telling undertold stories. Brodersen also served on A.C.T.’s Artistic Team, helping to select plays for each subscription season, and was the founding editor of Words on Plays, the theater’s acclaimed in‐depth performance guide, which informed and entertained A.C.T. students, teachers, and subscribers for 25 years. Most recently, Brodersen served as Executive Director of Creative Growth Art Center, a progressive studio and gallery for visual artists with developmental disabilities, whose work is featured in major museums, galleries, and private collections worldwide. She successfully led the organization through the early pandemic, during which it had to reinvent every element of operations from predominantly in-person to entirely remote and online, while navigating a constantly shifting regulatory, financial, and sociopolitical landscape. Under her leadership, Creative Growth completed three consecutive fiscal years with operating surpluses in a nearly $3 million budget, while developing innovative ways to help artists stay connected and supported in their practice, participating in virtual exhibitions and art fairs, and developing online viewing rooms and enhanced social media communications for sharing their creative expression with a growing global audience.
Brodersen has served as a national judge for the Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education, as a review panelist for the NEA Shakespeare in American Communities and the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Writers Corps Teaching Artist in Residence grants, on the Steering Committee of the Bay Area Arts Access Collaborative, and as co-chair of the San Francisco Bar Association’s International Human Rights Committee. She is a graduate of Princeton University (with honors) and the Columbia University School of Law, holds an honorary M.F.A. degree from the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program, and is a recipient of the San Francisco Unified School District’s Dreamcatcher Award.