Phoenix Center for the Arts Announces Lauren Henschen as its new Chief Executive Officer

We are absolutely thrilled to announce the appointment of Lauren Henschen as the new Chief Executive Officer of Central Arts Alliance (CAA), most commonly known as Phoenix Center for the Arts, effective July 1, 2019. Henschen was unanimously approved by the CAA Board of Directors and will oversee all CAA operations and programming, including Phoenix Center for the Arts, Thunderbird Arts Center, and the Arizona Art Mobile. 

Board Chair, Jamie Halavais, states, “We chose Lauren to lead CAA into its next stage of service because of the depth and breadth of her knowledge about CAA and the communities and constituents it engages, her strong business acumen, and countless other positive business attributes. All of these factors made Lauren the obvious and best choice to lead CAA as it continues to provide arts and culture opportunities for all through education, programming, and advocacy.” “The CAA Board has tasked Lauren with launching a broad public search for a Director of Institutional Advancement,” Halavais continued, “as part of our ongoing commitment to expanding the roster of professional skills, creative talents, and lived experience on our leadership team.” 

Henschen joined the Phoenix Center for the Arts staff in 2013 and has served in the position of Deputy Director for the past three years, overseeing sales, marketing, major events, and community partnerships. CAA’s outgoing Director, Joseph Benesh, states “Lauren has been an instrumental force in the development of Phoenix Center for the Arts since the early days of our growth as a nonprofit organization. In addition to ‘putting Phoenix Center for the Arts on the map’ by marketing our programs with thoughtful integrity, Lauren has always seen the bigger picture in what we do, who we serve, and what we can do better.” Phoenix Center for the Arts Dance Department Head, Liliana Gomez, states “Over the years, Lauren has proven her commitment to the community on behalf of PCA/CAA; of providing services and opportunities to the community, and also serving on boards and committees that align with the beliefs of arts for all.” 

An active member of the Downtown Phoenix community, Henschen serves on the Executive Boards of the Evans Churchill Community Association and the Hance Park Conservancy, as well as on the Phoenix Community Alliance Arts, Culture, and Public Life Committee, and the Noche en Blanco event planning committee. Henschen is a graduate of Valley Leadership Institute Class 38. In 2017, Henschen was featured in AZCentral’s “Who’s Next” list, identifying the next generation of Arizona movers and shakers. Prior to her time with Phoenix Center for the Arts, Henschen worked closely with small business, nonprofit, and arts-based organizations for eight years through Communication Arts Network, a local public relations and marketing firm.

She also served as an ongoing consultant for Arizona State University’s PAVE Professional Sustainability Program. Henschen is a summa cum laude graduate of Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute. Photo by Mirinda DiBiase.