Phoenix Center for the Arts CEO Lauren Henschen Announces Departure in February 2022

Phoenix Center for the Arts

December 16, 2021

Lauren Henschen at 2021 Mayor's Arts Awards

Phoenix Center for the Arts CEO Lauren Henschen has announced she will step down from her position in February 2022 after nearly ten years with the organization. Henschen has served as Chief Executive Officer for Central Arts Alliance (colloquially known as Phoenix Center for the Arts) since July of 2019. The Phoenix Center for the Arts (PCA) Board of Directors will conduct a nationwide search for Central Arts Alliance’s next Chief Executive Officer in the coming months.

Beginning as the organization’s first Marketing Manager in PCA’s formative years, serving as Marketing Director, Deputy Director, and eventually CEO, Henschen has grown with PCA, and demonstrated great leadership, creativity, and initiative through her oversight and direction of the organization and staff, leading up to and through the pandemic. In November 2021, Henschen was recognized as an ATHENA Awards Finalist by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce for her leadership in the public sector.

“Over the past decade, PCA saw unprecedented growth that Lauren was integral in leading,” states Board Chair Angela Rodela. “Her oversight helped to take Phoenix Center for the Arts from a single campus with 40 art classes and a $200,000 budget, to a $2,000,000+ budget, offering 750+ classes at two physical locations (including Thunderbird Arts Center) and virtually, all while fulfilling the mission and staying true to the needs of the community. Through her leadership and vision, PCA is now able to serve a more expansive community, having a greater impact in bringing arts and culture experiences to all (even those outside of Phoenix, Arizona, and the US!).”

Rodela continued, “When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, just 8 months into stepping into the CEO role, Lauren began leading her team through a pivotal moment for PCA. Through her leadership and creativity, PCA was able to quickly pivot to virtual programming which kept many students, staff, and teaching artists both engaged and safe. This speedy transition to virtual learning also opened up access to PCA’s classes and programming, allowing those who were previously unable to participate, due to transportation or logistical issues, to partake in PCA’s offerings. Lauren also took on the responsibilities of the organization’s vacant Development Officer role, ensuring the organization secured crucial grant funding to sustain operations through the pandemic. While she has always been adept at wearing many hats, Lauren again demonstrated her tireless dedication to the organization, even through the most difficult of times.

Lauren’s style of shared leadership and personal empowerment will be missed by her entire team – staff, students, teaching artists, resident organizations, volunteers, and board of directors – all of whom wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.”

“I have been incredibly honored to serve this organization and the Phoenix community during a time of important growth and development,” shared Lauren Henschen. “Working alongside the Phoenix Center for the Arts team – a truly incredible group of human beings – and helping to foster a collaborative, kind, supportive, and equitable environment, I am very proud of our collective accomplishments. I’m also excited to continue supporting Phoenix Center for the Arts for many, many years to come. Phoenix Center for the Arts plays such a vital role in the connectivity and wellness of our community, reaching beyond arts and culture and into our daily lives to make positive change. I know we will continue to see that meaningful impact continue to blossom in the years ahead.”

On behalf of the Phoenix Center for the Arts staff, board of directors, teaching artists, resident organizations, volunteers, and students, we’ll miss you Lauren, and wish you nothing but the best of luck!